NASW Foundation National Programs
NASW Social Work Pioneers®
Manuel Kaufman (1910 - 1993)
Manuel Kaufman was a Philadelphia social worker and child welfare official who worked to improve the lives and chances of thousands of children in foster care.
Mr. Kaufman received his bachelor's degree in 1934 and his master's degree in social work in 1938 from the University of Pennsylvania.
He was appointed deputy commissioner for welfare for services to children in 1952. Mr. Kaufman took over a system that was archaic and complicated and so understaffed it could not keep track of the 50,000 children in its care. In 1963, he was promoted to first deputy commissioner for child welfare. He was a top-notch administrator. Mr. Kaufman set high standards and developed a quality staff.
A three-time delegate to the White House Conference on Children and Youth, Mr. Kaufman often spoken out on children's issues.
During World War II, Mr. Kaufman was field director for the American Red Cross in England and Italy, and served as a welfare officer for the United Nations Relief and Rehabilitation Administration, the predecessor to UNICEF.
Between 1972 and 1974, he was director of family service for the state Welfare Department.
Mr. Kaufman was one of the founders of the Philadelphia Corporation for the Aging and a lecturer at Penn's School of Social Work. He served on the boards of Philadelphia Child Guidance Clinic, Community Nursing Service of Philadelphia, West Mount Airy Neighbors and the Aliens Lane Art Center.