Tribute to Jane Knitzer

This report is dedicated to Dr. Jane Knitzer, Ed.D., who served as a member of this project’s committee until she passed away on March 29, 2009. Dr. Knitzer was a long-time advocate for children’s mental health, child welfare, and early childhood, adding tremendous value over her lifetime to the work of The National Center for Children in Poverty at Columbia University’s Mailman School of Public Health, Cornell University, New York University, and Bank Street College of Education. Dr. Knitzer influenced many individuals and communities through her advocacy and impact on public policies for America’s most vulnerable children, youth, and families.

Dr. Knitzer was an extremely committed activist, scholar, and moral leader. She provided inspiration and guidance through her work, through her extraordinary mentorship of several generations of those who worked in many diverse roles with children, youth, and their families and through her absolute insistence that children and their families deserve justice and fairness above all. Her keen instincts on policy led researchers, policy makers, practitioners, and parents alike to resonate with her message for improving the lives of children and their families based on research-informed strategies and interventions. She particularly brought to our attention the need to attend to those who had the highest risk: children in poverty, children afflicted by violence, those in vulnerable situations, and children whose parents suffered from mental illness and related adversities. She truly helped make invisible children visible and demanded that we attend to their needs. Above all Dr. Knitzer was dedicated to highlighting the need to invest in America’s youngest children, demanding that as a nation we give children and their families the best start possible irrespective of their life circumstances.

Jane Knitzer was indomitable in her cause, which was the cause of the most vulnerable among us, and she never wavered in her pursuit of what was best for children and families. Her insights and scholarship guided the deliberations and content of this report, and we dedicate it to her memory.


Members of the Committee on Depression, Parenting Practices, and the Healthy Development of Children

May 2009



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