NASW Foundation National Programs
NASW Social Work Pioneers®
Barbara L. Glaser
Barbara Glaser has made major contributions to the field of social work practice and policy for over forty years. She developed, directed, and administered policies for a broad range of social service programs in both the public and private sectors. The programs ranged across the age spectrum from children and youth to the aged and disabled.
Her pioneering work as director of the first Foster Grandparents Program in the nation led to a model for foster grandparent programs throughout the United States. She helped initially with the recruitment, selection, training, placement and supervision of elderly, poverty-level "grandparents" and developed the structure for this program. Ms. Glaser's reports to the US Senate Select Committee on the Aging were the impetus for and formed the philosophical basis for the initiation of the War on Poverty's Foster Grandparents Program.
As refugees from Southeast Asia swamped Virginia's service delivery system, Ms. Glaser convened both public and private providers throughout Arlington County to design the most humane and expeditious service delivery method for this population while avoiding wasteful duplication. From these meetings came the Project for Acculturation of Indochinese Refugees (PAIR) and its successor, Central Entry for Refugees (CER), in which all Indochinese refugees seeking services were routed through a central entry point in the county. Located in the Division of Social Services, of which she was the director, the program assured refugees immediate service, referrals to cooperating agencies, and follow-up. She hired only Indochinese workers who were able to provide services to their compatriots with cultural sensitivity and linguistic competence. This program which she initiated and designed received recognition from the Commonwealth of Virginia.
Ms. Glaser developed a training course on ethical principles in service delivery for mental health workers in the Department of Human Services of Arlington County, where she was Director of Social Services. In addition, she unilaterally persuaded Arlington County to offer the AARP's Retirement course to all county employees, which has enriched the post-working lives of hundreds of employees.
As project manager while working with APHSA of the federally funded HIV Prevention Project, Ms. Glaser devised the survey instruments and site visit protocols to determine the nature, extent and effectiveness of the nation's HIV prevention programs for youth in publicly funded service systems for child welfare, mental health, substance abuse and juvenile justice.
As Director of Social Services in Arlington County, Virginia, Ms. Glaser was able to direct all state and county public assistance and social service programs for children, families, the homeless, and disabled and elderly persons in a multi-discipline human service umbrella agency. She also was able to design and implement a county-wide service system for Asian refugees. As Chief of the Bureau of Child and Family Services in Arlington County, she was in a good position to design and plan programs and participate in policy development.
Previously, in Philadelphia where she was Acting Director of the first Foster Grandparents program in the United States, she was able to select and supervise grandparents placed in children's hospitals and child serving agencies.
As Director of a Helpmate Volunteer Bureau of the Health and Welfare Council of Philadelphia, Ms. Glaser wrote a report for the US Senate Select Committee on the Aging on recruiting, interviewing and training elderly volunteers which led to the Foster Grandparents program.
Ms. Glaser continues to contribute to the welfare of the aging, serving as a member of the Commission on Aging of Montgomery County, Maryland and as a long-term care ombudsman at a nursing home.