Announcing the Retirement of CSSP President Frank Farrow

On behalf of the Board of Directors and staff at the Center for the Study of Social Policy (CSSP), it is with the deepest admiration that I announce the planned retirement this fall of our inspirational President and friend Frank Farrow.

Frank was present at CSSP’s creation. With founding director Tom Joe, Judy Meltzer, and a few others, CSSP developed innovative federal and state public welfare policies to improve incomes, work opportunities, and services for families living in poverty. Frank helped add CSSP’s deep focus on child welfare and human service systems after serving as Director of the Social Services Administration in Maryland’s Human Resources Department in the mid-1980’s.

After succeeding Tom Joe as Director in 1999, he broadened CSSP’s commitment to community and neighborhood change, drawing on 10 years of experience as Director of Community Change Initiatives at the Annie E. Casey Foundation. In recent years, he has greatly expanded CSSP’s focus on young children, their families, and the communities that help them thrive—a particular passion for him. Frank’s mix of intellectual curiosity, vision, and practical strategy—and his belief that CSSP needed to simultaneously advance public policy, improve public systems, and help communities support strong families—has  guided CSSP’s work for almost 20 years.

Frank has long prioritized equity at CSSP, arguing that race, more than any other factor, determines what opportunities people have and can pursue—and that boldly and aggressively examining and fighting against racism should be a key pillar of all work undertaken at CSSP. As a result of this unwavering focus, CSSP has become a leading voice on behalf of equity, calling attention to and fighting against racism and structural barriers that limit the opportunities and success of many children and families of color, immigrant families, and LGBTQ+ children, youth, and families.

As a result of Frank’s leadership and stewardship and his commitment to the development of our staff, CSSP is well positioned for the future. We will continue to work to strengthen families and communities and to build the policy frameworks and services that support them.   

I am enormously grateful to have worked closely with Frank for so long. His strength of character, passion for social justice, and determination to make the world a better place are only a few of the many reasons that I and CSSP’s board and staff will miss him so very much. Frank will remain as CSSP’s President until the fall, by which time we expect to name a new President to carry on CSSP’s mission to achieve a racially, economically, and socially just society in which all children and families thrive.

The Board has named a committee to lead the search for the next leader of CSSP. We are fortunate that CSSP’s Executive Vice President Judith Meltzer will continue to serve in her role. Her continued leadership presence will ensure the smoothest transition possible.

We hope to have many opportunities with our colleagues and partners in these next six months to honor Frank and his accomplishments. Please join me and the entire CSSP team in expressing our love, appreciation, and boundless thanks to Frank for his dedication to CSSP, to equity, and to children, young people, and families across the country.

Carol Wilson Spigner

Chair of the Board