Dissertations, Theses, and Capstone Projects

Date of Degree


Document Type


Degree Name



Social Welfare


Mimi Abramovitz

Committee Members

Paul A. Kurzman

Colleen Henry

Subject Categories

Social and Behavioral Sciences | Social Policy | Social Welfare | Social Work


Child welfare, New York City, Policy and service delivery


The emergence of the New Public Management with its emphasis on performance measurements and managerial strategies such as accountability, efficiency, and cost effectiveness have encouraged nonprofit child welfare agencies in New York City to pursue the practice of the private sector. In the current environment, service delivery has become more entrepreneurial, strategic and outcome minded on the assumption that the market-oriented approach is more effective (Watson-Bishop, 2007). This study examines the relationship between policy and service delivery. Specifically, it investigates the impact of the initiative known as Improved Outcomes for Children on child welfare supervisors in a managerial environment.

The framework for this study uses Street Level Bureaucracy and phenomenological inquiry. The findings of this study suggest that supervisors’ ability to be present for their work with children and families is hampered by the vigilance needed to reach performance goals. These findings provide insight into supervisors’ perception that Improved Outcomes for Children has transformed the organization and delivery of services in child welfare agencies in a permanent way. Practice implications include an in-depth examination of what is and what is not working to support children and families, as well as the need to invest in a skilled and stable workforce.