Leading Anti-Poverty Center Announces New Executive Director

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CLASP (the Center for Law and Social Policy), one of the nation's leading voices for low-income families, has appointed Olivia Golden, Ph.D. as its next executive director. She will succeed Alan Houseman, who has served in the position since 1981.

Today, CLASP (the Center for Law and Social Policy) announced the appointment of Olivia Golden, Ph.D. as its next executive director. She will succeed Alan Houseman, who has served in the position since 1981. Houseman will retire at the end of 2013.

“Olivia Golden is absolutely the right person to lead CLASP at this important juncture in the course of both our organization and this country,” said Joe Onek, CLASP’s board chair, principal at The Raben Group, and former CLASP executive director. “From its roots as a pioneering public interest law firm, CLASP has become the leading voice and expert on national policy for low-income people. Olivia’s leadership will be an energizing and natural transition for us.”

Founded in 1969, CLASP is a prominent national organization dedicated to improving the prospects of low-income children, families and individuals through better public policy and more effective service delivery.

Dr. Golden has an impressive track record of delivering results for low-income children and families and joins CLASP after a career that has included roles in child and family policy in the nonprofit sector and at all levels of government. During the eight years that she served in senior executive roles at the U.S. Department of Health and Human Services (HHS) during the Clinton Administration, Golden was a key player in designing and implementing Early Head Start, tripling the level of funding for child care, and implementing landmark welfare reform.

Under her leadership, the D.C. Children and Family Services Agency emerged from federal court receivership and markedly improved the lives of children in the District. Currently an Institute fellow at the Urban Institute, she conducts research and directs foundation-supported initiatives on families’ economic security and children’s well-being, and has led creative initiatives on low-income working families, the impact of federal health and social welfare programs in states, and the implications of health reform for low-income children. She will begin as executive director at CLASP in August.

“I am honored by this extraordinary opportunity to take the reins of CLASP,” Golden said. “Through the hard work of Alan, the Board, and the staff, CLASP has established itself as one of the nation’s most important voices for low-income children, families, and individuals. I look forward to leading it at a time when the stakes are as high as they have ever been for low-income families.”

Golden celebrates CLASP’s unique strengths, including “its two-generational focus on both children’s well-being and their parents’ access to employment, education, and training; and the capacity of its experts to be effective in a wide range of roles – as innovators who develop new policies, thoughtful advocates on the Hill and in the states, and trusted providers of technical assistance.”

Golden served in two presidentially appointed positions within HHS, as New York's director of state operations, in various roles for the Commonwealth of Massachusetts, as director of the Child and Family Services Agency of the District of Columbia, and as an advocate with the Children’s Defense Fund. She has written two books: Reforming Child Welfare (2009) and Poor Children and Welfare Reform (1992). She received her undergraduate degree from Harvard University, where she also earned her master’s and doctoral degrees in public policy from the Kennedy School of Government.

Onek concluded that CLASP is “delighted Alan will remain with us until the end of 2013, and we look forward later this year to celebrating and paying tribute to his decades-long career and the innumerable ways in which he has served the interests of low-income people.”

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CLASP develops and advocates for policies at the federal, state and local levels that improve the lives of low-income people. We focus on policies that strengthen families and create pathways to education and work. Through careful research and analysis and effective advocacy, we develop and promote new ideas, mobilize others, and directly assist governments and advocates to put in place successful strategies that deliver results that matter to people across America. For more information, visit http://www.clasp.org and follow @CLASP_DC.

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