Executive Director

Dedication and passion are two words that describe NAC's Executive Director. Her leadership, combined with an exceptionally qualified and committed Board of Directors, has garnered awards and enabled NAC to grow into an agency that succeeds in areas where others have not.

Arlene Goldsmith, LCSW, PhD

New Alternatives for Children has been under the direction of Arlene Goldsmith, LCSW, PhD since its inception in 1982. Dr. Goldsmith has led NAC from an initial staff of 5 employees to a team now of almost 250. Her expertise, professionalism, and dedication set the tone for the agency, which now attracts and retains an exceptional and professional staff.

Before joining NAC, Dr. Goldsmith held numerous diversified social work positions, having spent 25 years as a practitioner in the field of human services. She has served as Educational Program Specialist at the Council on Social Work Education, evaluating accreditation for professional social work programs throughout the U.S., and as Educational Coordinator at the Metropolitan Placement Unit of the Office of Mental Retardation and Developmental Disabilities, working on the deinstitutionalization of children with developmental disabilities. She has also worked in child welfare agencies as both a practitioner and supervisor, and has served as a faculty member of Hunter/Lehman College, teaching and counseling students and teachers at their educational clinic.

Dr. Goldsmith holds a Master of Social Work degree from Columbia University School of Social Work and a Doctor of Social Work from Fordham University Graduate School of Social Service, with a specialization in Child Welfare. Dr. Goldsmith is recognized as an expert in child welfare policy, and is the author of “Those Children”, a case study and evaluation that offers human service professionals guidance in working with inner-city children.

Dr. Goldsmith is a friend and a mentor to almost every child who walks through NAC's doors. Her compassion and uncompromising leadership have enabled thousands of medically complex children and their siblings to live with a family of their own – either birth or adoptive – and lead a better quality of life. Many of the first children NAC helped to leave the hospital are now attending and graduating college, working in the community and succeeding in areas never thought possible. Dr. Goldsmith believes that every child, regardless of their physical ability, deserve the same opportunities as all children.

As a result of her work at NAC, and "in recognition of her pioneering efforts to give hospital-bound, chronically ill children a chance to live in a loving family," Dr. Arlene Goldsmith was named a Robert Wood Johnson Community Health Leader in 1994. Dr. Goldsmith was one of ten leaders around the country to receive this $100,000 award for NAC, which recognizes "leaders who are overcoming seemingly insurmountable obstacles to provide care to the millions slipping through the cracks." In January 1998, Arlene Goldsmith received a prestigious Lewis Hine Award from the National Child Labor Committee, presented in honor of outstanding service on behalf of children and youth. The Robin Hood Foundation named Dr. Goldsmith as the recipient of their Hero's Award in December 1998 and presented NAC with the accompanying $25,000 check. Most recently in 2009, Dr. Goldsmith was one of three respected members of the social work profession inducted into the Columbia University School of Social Work Alumni Association Hall of Fame. The Hall of Fame honors distinguished Columbia University School of Social Work alumni/ae who have made outstanding contributions to the theory and/or practice of social work and who, by their example, have added distinction to the social work profession. In 2010, Dr. Goldsmith was presented with the Foster Care Leadership Award by the Rowell Foster Children's Positive Plan and the Annie E. Casey Foundation for her steadfast commitment to children placed in foster care.

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