Top Stories of 2019: The Loss of a Lion in Child Welfare

We’re counting down 10 of the biggest stories The Chronicle of Social Change published in 2019. Each day, we’ll connect readers with a few links to our coverage on a big story from this past year.

Will there ever be another MaryLee Allen in the youth policy field? Allen, the policy director at Children’s Defense Fund who passed away this year, was intensely involved in virtually every federal policy shift for the past four decades.

But her legacy is more than just laws passed and defeated. The reaction to her passing made clear that Allen worked harder than anyone to mentor and educate the next generation of advocates for America’s most vulnerable kids.

Lead Read

Allen passed away this summer at the age of 74 after a brief battle with liver cancer.

Also Read

In one of the last articles we interviewed her for, MaryLee Allen shared her thoughts on the impact thus far of the Fostering Connections to Success and Increasing Adoptions Act, a bill passed in 2008 that offered federal support to extend foster care through 21 and finalize more guardianship agreements with relatives and fictive kin.

A collection of thoughts from colleagues and mentees on what MaryLee Allen meant to the field of child welfare.

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John Kelly, Editor in Chief, The Chronicle of Social Change
About John Kelly, Editor in Chief, The Chronicle of Social Change 1210 Articles
John Kelly is editor-in-chief of The Chronicle of Social Change. Reach him at