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“Troubled kids need advocates, adults who truly believe in their potential and see beyond their problems.” 

- Pappy Gladden

About William Gladden Foundation

The seed for the William Gladden Foundation was planted in 1974, when William H. Gladden, Jr., Executive Director of the Pennsylvania George Junior Republic School for Boys, died in a plane crash.


With no son to carry on his mission, William D. “Pappy” Gladden, Sr., Executive Director of the Republic during Waln Brown’s placement, asked Waln to continue the Gladden family tradition of helping troubled youth. Waln credits the Gladdens for inspiring his turnaround and took Pappy’s request to heart.


Upon completing his doctoral dissertation at the University of Pennsylvania, Waln left the Office of Youth Services and Corrections Education, Pennsylvania Departments of Welfare and Education, and took up residence at the National Center for Juvenile Justice.


He then won a post-doctoral fellowship at the Sonia Schenkman Orthogenic School, the University of Chicago, to study psychoanalytic ego psychology and work with emotionally-disturbed youth.


​Waln completed his memoir, The Other Side of Delinquency (Rutgers University Press, 1983) and borrowed $5,000 to pursue Pappy Gladden’s mission by incorporating William Gladden Foundation (WGF) as a nonprofit organization.


​The William Gladden Foundation Press began self-publishing in 1983 with the booklet, What Parents Should Know About Juvenile Delinquency and Juvenile Justice. Juvenile and family courts across America purchased more than 50,000 copies to educate parents and to train juvenile justice and child welfare professionals.


​In 1986, the IRS granted WGF tax-exempt status as a 501 (c) 3 nonprofit organization, and in 1990, the William Gladden Foundation relocated its headquarters from York, Pennsylvania to Tallahassee, Florida. From the mid-1980s onward, the William Gladden Foundation Press has grown its library of educational materials and pioneered the youth at-risk marketplace.


The William Gladden Foundation Press continues to conduct innovative research about how to improve the placement experiences and adult outcomes of America’s at risk youth and publish our findings and theories.


The William Gladden Foundation works with child welfare alumni across America to advance its mission, and especially foster care alumnus Dr. John Seita, Emeritus Professor, Michigan State University School of Social Work.


Dr. Brown, Dr. Seita and dozens of alumni continue to collaborate in the shared mission to optimize the placement experiences and adult outcomes of America’s at-risk youth.


Best Wishes,


Waln K. Brown, Ph.D.

Founder & CEO



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