Linda Lausell Bryant, PhD, MSW
Linda Lausell Bryant has served as Executive Director of Inwood House since December of 2005. A Ph.D. graduate of NYU and published author of a number of scholarly works, Ms. Lausell Bryant is well versed on the pressures of poverty, especially the impact of violence on young people. Ms. Lausell Bryant is strongly aligned with Inwood House’s values as advocates for adolescents. As a member of local, state and national advocacy group boards and task forces, Ms. Bryant is raising awareness of the link between teenage pregnancy and intergenerational poverty and foster care placement, and is promoting best practices for both prevention and teen family support. In August, 2009, she was appointed by Mayor Bloomberg to the NYC Panel for Education Policy. Ms. Lausell Bryant serves on the Child Welfare Watch Advisory Panel which is monitoring the state of youth in the New York City Child Welfare System, the Board of the Council of Family and Child Care Agencies, the New York State Coalition on Adolescent Pregnancy, and the National Association of Social Workers.
Prior to joining Inwood House, Ms. Lausell Bryant served as Associate Commissioner for the New York City Administration for Children’s Services’ Office of Youth Development. Ms. Lausell Bryant has also been on the forefront of the after-school programming movement which has transformed out of school time into an opportunity for educational enrichment and personal development. As Deputy Executive Director of the Partnership for After School Education, Ms. Lausell Bryant designed and established an after-school training institute for all levels of staff from more than 1,200 New York City youth service organizations. Her early work included serving as Mediation Director for the Children’s Aid Society Parent-Teen Mediation Program. As founding Director of the Victim Services School Mediation and Violence Prevention Services program, Ms. Lausell Bryant developed, implemented and secured funding for programs operating in more than 100 targeted New York City middle and high schools to help youth deter gang, relationship and family violence.
Ms. Lausell Bryant devoted her dissertation to identifying factors that can propel foster care youth to succeed in higher education.
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Inwood House has transformed the lives of New York City’s most vulnerable and disconnected young people by reaching them at many critical junctures, where decisions – made in haste, ignorance or despair – can undermine a young life. Inwood House has been there to offer community, hope and the skills to make a fresh start.
1830: A new beginning for delinquent & sexually exploited young women.
Founding members of the Society had served young prostitutes at the Female Penitentiary of Bellevue as “Sabbath School” teachers. The inmates were largely immigrant orphans, runaways from abusive homes, and unwed pregnant girls turned out by family or employers. Their young lives were marked by habitual incarceration, punitive treatment, and persistent poverty.
Society members offered the girls an alternative: a Residence where they were met with optimism for their futures, referred to as “family” and provided guidance, education, and employable skills.
The Society’s first outreach post and Residence was located at 45 Orange Street, in the notorious “Five Points” slum. The district, populated by new immigrants and emancipated slaves, claimed the city’s highest incidences of disease, infant and child mortality, unemployment, prostitution, and violent crime. There were twelve brothels on Orange Street alone.
1831- 1833: A Call to Action and Expansion.
Undaunted, within two years, the all-female Board set up a new, larger Residence on 88th Street between 4th and 5th Avenues. Orange Street remained an outreach center and temporary Residence. The Society leadership petitioned the Courts and won direct referrals of girls from the Penitentiary. The Board appealed for employment for these women who, the Board contended, were the subject of class prejudice and needed additional help in finding sustainable and suitable employment.
1849 – 1870: Advocates for Family and Social Justice
In 1855, the Society had 57 girls in care and reported that of the 1,000 girls it had assisted in 25 years, 200 had been restored to family, 200 were respectably employed, 17 were married and 27 had died. Advocacy was as important as ever. With immigration peaking, record numbers of girls were swept into prison for “vagrancy.” The Society voiced strong opposition and appealed to the City’s women for financial aid.
1904 - 1915: An Unmet Need: Preparing Young Single Mothers for Independent Life
Employment for young women in New York at the beginning of the 20th Century was limited. For single mothers, some as young as 15 or 16, work was almost non-existent. These young mothers were especially vulnerable to prostitution and abandonment of their children. In 1910 the Society expanded services with a Nursery for on-going post-delivery support, parenting and domestic training, and improved educational and vocational skills. Power laundry machines were installed and professional seamstresses were hired to teach the girls new workplace skills.
After long negotiations, in 1911 the New York Public School System agreed to provide a certified teacher to the Residence. A full curriculum was considered essential to provide the girls new opportunities for long-term success.
New psychological testing and case analysis methods were embraced for improving the girls’ mental health. Mary Paddon, a professional social worker, and Dr. Helen Montague, head of Psychiatric Services for the Children’s Court, were hired in 1915 to shape the agency’s services. To further increase the agency’s professional capacity, partnerships were formed with the City’s leading social service institutions, including the Bureau of Social Hygiene, which provided sexuality education to adolescents and young adults.
1917-1922: Inwood House in the Community
In 1922 Inwood House moved to 228 West 15th Street, and created a Residence and service hub for girls aged 16-21, providing psychological testing, assessments, planning and counseling, and a medical clinic. Girls were then placed in one of several Inwood House Residences geared to their specific needs.
1923: Leading the Crusade Against Syphilis
1941: Foster Family Care for Young Pregnant Teens
1947-1952: Informing Best Practice
1952: Adoption and Foster Care Needs Soar with Baby Boom
1964: New Facility and Access to Premier Medical Care
1968: Creating Foster Family Care for Mother and Child
1973: Support of Roe v. Wade
1978: Call for Prevention Services
1980-1986: Sound Transition from Foster Care
1991: Commitment to the South Bronx & Fathers
1995-1999: Data Supports Teen Choice & Replication
2000-2005: Data Supports Residential Care Model
2005: Reaching Homeless Teens
2009: Teen Family Learning Center
In March 2009, Inwood House opened a state-of-the-art Teen Family Learning Center at 320 East 82nd Street in Manhattan with corporate, private foundation, individual, and public support. The only one of its kind in New York City, the Inwood House Teen Family Learning Center serves as a national model of service for pregnant and parenting teens, our city-wide programming headquarters, and a training institute for the City’s graduate schools of social work, public health, and early child development.
The Teen Family Learning Center is a product of the Campaign for Inwood House. We have a clear vision for the critical role Inwood House and our young people will play in the future vibrancy of New York City. Through this Campaign, we are opening the door to a new era of hope and opportunity for all of our young people.
For more information on how to support The Campaign for Inwood House please contact Kathleen Cooney Clarke at 212-861-4400 ext. 8062 or firstname.lastname@example.org
Melanie Davis, President
Robert Kandel, Vice President
Katrina Dudley, Secretary
Stephen Pollock, Treasurer
Mark Fentress, At-Large Member
Linda Lausell Bryant, Executive Director & Non-Voting Member
Kathryn O’Neal Dunham
Ghillaine A. Reid, Esq
John A. Sipp
Andrew WozniakTrustees Emeritae:
Nicholas A. Adamo
E. Sherrell Andrews, Esq.
Caroline C. WilliamsonSpecial Counsel:
Andrea S. Christensen, Esq.
Nick Adamo, Co-Chair*
Stephanie Avakian, Esq.
Joseph De Simone, Esq.
Robert S. Friedman, Esq.
Jamie Levitt, Esq.
Rami Musallam, Co-Chair*
William C. Steere, III
Edward Tillinghast, Esq.
*Inwood House Trustee
The Junior Advisory Council is a group of young professionals who raise funds, increase awareness,
and take an active role in preventing the cycle of poverty that is linked to teenage pregnancy.
Emily Collins, Co-Chair*
Mary Grace Mock