In Memory of Sid Johnson

Prevent Child Abuse America pays tribute to Sid Johnson, a tireless champion for children and families across the country and former President and CEO of this organization (1998–2005), who passed last month, surrounded by family, near Eugene, Oregon.

Sid’s illustrious career began in the late 1960s: after receiving his master’s degree from the University of Michigan School of Social Work in 1967, he joined the staff of Senator Walter Mondale as a senior legislative aid in 1969 and soon became staff director of the Subcommittee on Children and Youth. There, he was instrumental in helping to enact the Child Abuse Prevention and Treatment Act (CAPTA), legislation still integral to our work today.

Throughout the following decades, Sid led various organizations dedicated to strengthening families, including the Family Impact Seminar, which he founded; American Association of Marriage and Family Therapy; and American Human Services Association. During his time leading PCA America, Sid marshalled the development of Circle of Parents, a national network of parent leaders and 18 statewide and regional organizations, which resulted from a successful collaborative project with the National Family Support Roundtable and is utilized by many of our state chapters to this day. His work to pass high quality child care for all was featured in the groundbreaking 2015 documentary series The Raising of America, particularly in segment 2, Once Upon a Time: When Childcare for All Wasn’t Just a Fairytale.

According to Jeff Todahl, Co-director & Director of Research at the Center for the Prevention of Abuse and Neglect and a close friend of Sid’s, “When Sid retired in Eugene, he dedicated many hundreds of hours to CASA, the Trauma Healing Project, and 90 by 30. He led with thoughtfulness, compassion, and a quick wit. The world lost an incredible person, truly.” We at PCA America echo this sentiment and express our deepest gratitude for Sid’s insightful and steady leadership throughout the years.

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