Arlene Goldsmith, LCSW, PhD


Arlene Goldsmith, PhD, LCSW, has worked with children and families since 1961, when she received her master’s degree in social work. After holding positions in a variety of community settings, she was hired to initiate an agency for medically fragile children growing up in hospitals or institutional settings. This new agency--New Alternatives for Children (NAC)—became her life’s work.

Goldsmith passionately believes that chronically ill and severely disabled children have the right and the ability to live in the community, rather than in the depersonalized settings of a hospital or institution. In 1982, she created an agency that helps these children to leave hospitals and return to caring community environments, saving millions in hospitalization costs and bringing dramatic improvement and new hope into many children’s lives.
Over the years, NAC’s budget has increased to $20 million, and thousands of children with special needs in New York City are now living in communities in safe and permanent homes with families, are graduating from college, or are in the workforce.