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Harold House Named NASW Public Citizen of the Year

Indiana advocate named for his dedication to improving education opportunities for juveniles with mental health challenges

Washington, D.C. – The National Association of Social Workers (NASW) is pleased to name Harold House as the 2009 Public Citizen of the Year for his vigorous advocacy on behalf of incarcerated juveniles with mental health disabilities.

Mr. House has been an advocate for children for the past three decades. His efforts have resulted in vast improvements for children in foster care, as well as disabled students incarcerated at the Indiana Department of Correction. He has raised more than $200 million in funding for juvenile justice and delinquency programs and has traveled the nation to promote improvements to the mental health system.

“Harold House has been an exemplary public servant and champion for youth who often don’t have a voice,” says Dr. James Kelly, president of NASW.  “His dedication to improving the lives of children is admirable and is deserving of our recognition.”

Throughout his tenure in public service, Mr. House has contributed vastly to helping advance minority groups in Indiana and Ohio. As a champion for underserved youth, Mr. House assisted in writing several plans through the Indiana Criminal Justice Institute to address juvenile justice issues and was the first person to propose increased efforts for juvenile delinquency prevention.  He also served on the State Advisory Group for Juvenile Justice and Delinquency Prevention, a position he was appointed to by Indiana Governor Evan Bayh.

Mr. House was influential in establishing several education programs for underserved youth, including the Vemillion County Opportunity Program, Indiana Pacers Academy and the Federal Magnet Programs for Indianapolis Public Schools. Before moving to Indiana, Mr. House served as mayor of Owensville, Ohio, where he led a campaign to eradicate drug trafficking affecting children in the community. In 2003, he was honored by the Indiana House of Representatives with a resolution recognizing his efforts on behalf of troubled minority youth.

It is with great pleasure that NASW recognizes Harold House as the 2009 National Public Citizen of the Year.

To interview Mr. House, please contact NASW Communications at

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The National Association of Social Workers (NASW), in Washington, DC, is the largest membership organization of professional social workers with 132,000 members. It promotes, develops, and protects the practice of social work and social workers. NASW also seeks to enhance the well-being of individuals, families, and communities through its advocacy.