HERE’S A LOOK AT HIS HARD WORK AND ACHIEVEMENTS IN THE CHILD WELFARE FIELD:
In honor of our Founder and President/CEO Gordon Johnson, Neighbor To Family, Inc.’s (NTF’s) Safety Committee prepared a timeline of his great work and how the organization came into existence.
Mr. Johnson made it possible for countless to share in his vision of child abuse prevention services that keep siblings together. We thank you, Mr. Johnson!
The 1930’s & 1940’s brought on young Gordon Johnson desire to be a “Protector of Children”
In the 1950’s, Gordon Johnson returned to college after serving in the U.S. Army and he wanted to use his degree to work with and influence young people.
The 1960’s brought incredible changes in civil rights and child welfare. Gordon Johnson earned his master’s degree in rehabilitation counseling and his career launches in Battle Creek, MI and Miami, FL.
The 1970’s took Mr. Johnson to Pennsylvania where, in leadership roles, he became acquainted in Washington, D.C. with Greg Coler, (who would become a good friend and mentor), which led to opportunities in New York and Illinois.
In 1980, the Illinois DCFS faced a crisis, unable to place over 700 black children. “One Church, One Child” was developed by Coler and Johnson and, by 1986, only 39 were awaiting adoption. In the midst of the crusade, Gordon Johnson replaced Coler as the Director of the Illinois DCFS.
In 1990, Gordon Johnson took on the challenge of saving the Jane Addams Hull House in Illinois, initiating the “New Directions” program to help teens in group homes or foster care to transition on their own. “The Families For a Better Life” program got the attention of Oprah Winfrey and the media. In 1994, responding to the need for providing foster care that would keep siblings together, Mr. Johnson conceived a new program he called, “Neighbor to Neighbor.”
In 1994, Gordon Johnson was called down to Florida from the DCF administrator to discuss the Neighbor to Neighbor program. After numerous trips back and forth, the program was finally implemented in 1998.
By 2002, Neighbor to Family was incorporated and evolved to what it is today. Throughout the growth and changes, at the heart of NTF remains the core model: Keeping Siblings Together.