Aug. 17, 1995
Vol. 15, No. 1

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    Obituary: Donnell Pappenfort, SSA

    Donnell M. Pappenfort (Ph.D.'60), Professor Emeritus in the School of Social Service Administration, died Aug. 9 at his home in Chicago. He was 69.

    While at the University, Pappenfort was among a group of researchers who conducted a massive study, spanning several years, of the programs offered by group-care institutions for children. The study, titled "A Census of Children's Residential Institutions in the United States, Puerto Rico and the Virgin Islands," surveyed 2,318 public and private institutions that provided care to more than 150,000 children and youths. One result of that study was a book, Child Caring: Social Policy and the Institution (1973), which Pappenfort co-edited.

    Earlier in his career, Pappenfort participated in some of the fundamental studies on juvenile delinquency, preventive care and institutional treatment of youths in the United States.

    In the 1950s, he was among a group of researchers who did follow-up studies on a group of young people who had been incarcerated. The study, for the University's Center for Education & Research in Corrections, followed the youths through their probation or parole periods. In the early 1960s, Pappenfort was among a select group of educators to study delinquency-prevention programs in New York City. From 1960 to 1964, he served as associate director of research for the Mobilization For Youth project in New York, a pioneering program to develop methods for reducing juvenile delinquency through preventive social services.

    His later writings focused on the stress that social workers encountered in trying to help their clients while dealing with the realities of institutional bureaucracy. He also was the author of numerous articles on the role of social work in the areas of probation and parole, child-care institutions, youth services and juvenile delinquency.

    Born in Kansas City, Mo., he received his A.B. from the University of Kansas in 1946, his M.A. from the University of Missouri in 1951 and his Ph.D. from Chicago in 1960.

    From 1960 to 1965, Pappenfort was a senior research scientist in the School of Social Work at Columbia University. He then was associate professor in the School of Social Work at New York University from 1964 to 1965, when he joined the Chicago faculty as Associate Professor in the School of Social Service Administration and in the Center for Urban Studies. He was appointed Professor in 1973, and he retired in 1989.

    He has no immediate survivors.