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Mary Funnye Goldson, MSC (1935-1990)

Mary Funnye Goldson made significant contributions in child welfare and social work education throughout her professional career, which spanned more than 30 years. She was known as a master teacher, child advocate, program developer, organizational consultant, trainer, mentor, and professional role model, particularly for other African American social workers. She was said to have a transforming influence in the lives of her students, consultees, and colleagues, and was well known and respected in professional and academic communities.

Goldson's perspectives on issues facing poor families and their children were influenced during her early career in health care and antipoverty programs. In her role as trainer, consultant, board participant, city and state task force member, and scholar, she lent an empathetic and reasoned voice for children. Goldson challenged child welfare workers and their supervisors to improve service delivery, and urged government officials to provide grater resources and supports.

Goldson's vision for comprehensive services to families and children helped shape the Family Union program in New York City. This program offered both formal and informal supports to help strengthen families while providing a protective and nourishing environment for children. Through her participation with the Citizens' Committee for Children (Governor Cuomo's Task Force), agency boards, and other official bodies, she was instrumental in shaping permanency-planning policies in New York.

In 1969, Goldson joined the faculty of Columbia University School of Social Work where she specialized in social work practice with individuals, groups, and services to children and families. She was enormously influential in the development of child welfare curricula, group work, and generalist practice at Columbia. In addition, Goldson served as principal investigator of major federal grants in the field of adoption and child welfare training.

Goldson served on a number of boards including: Louise Wise Services; New York Spaulding for Children; Child Welfare Information Service, Inc.; and Saving Families for Children. She wrote many articles and professional conference papers. 

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