NASW Foundation National Programs
NASW Social Work Pioneers®
Alfred J. Kahn (1919 - 2009)
For almost 50 years Alfred J. Kahn has probed the frontiers of social work organization and practice and has sought to develop "new and improved models of service". He has been a teacher, author, and consultant to many voluntary and governmental organizations. He has paid particular attention to how programs developed in other countries could be useful to this country.
Kahn received his B.S.S. in 1939 from the City College of New York, his Masters of social work in 1946 from Columbia University School of Social Work and his Doctorate of Social Welfare in 1952 from Columbia University. He has been a faculty member of the School of Social Work Columbia since 1947 and is now an emeritus professor. His special areas of expertise have included delinquency, services for children, mental health, and social policy and planning. He has chaired the committee on advance programs at Columbia University School of Social Work.
Dr. Kahn has served as consultant to federal, state and local agencies, to voluntary organizations and foundations concerned with the planning of social services, income maintenance, child welfare related programs, international collaboration and social policy. For six years, he was national chairman for the Division of Practice and Knowledge of NASW and served for two terms on the NASW Board.
He has been the member of special panels at the National Academy of Sciences and the National Research Council including panels on Welfare Reform Evaluation and the Advisory Panel on Child Development.
Kahn is the author of a series of major studies and reports dealing with social planning, social services, delinquency and community planning for children. He has written and published chapters in books and articles in many journals in the U.S. and abroad about social planning, social welfare research, the development of social work knowledge and community of mental health. His book "Planning Community Services for Children in Trouble", was published by Columbia Press in March 1963 and appeared in Spanish translation in Argentina in 1967.
In the late 60's he published two companion volumes on the theory and practice of social planning and studies in social policy and planning which are basic text in this field.
Dr. Kahn has completed a number of overseas assignments for the Department of Health Education and Welfare, the State Department, private foundations, United Nations, and various foreign governments. He was the United States participant and rapporteur in 1967 U.N. "Expert Group on Social Policy and Level of Living in the Nation" and 1969 U.N. "Expert Group on Training Social Welfare Personnel for Development Planning." In some of his studies abroad he held a Fullbright lectureship.
Now in semi-retirement he continues to travel, write and critique the status quo of welfare services.