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PCSAO mourns passing of Gayle Channing Tenenbaum

PCSAO mourns passing of Gayle Channing Tenenbaum

The board, staff and membership of PCSAO are grieving the loss of Gayle Channing Tenenbaum, who passed away yesterday.

Tenenbaum’s professional career was intertwined with PCSAO’s history, though her advocacy extended well beyond her work with county children services agencies. Along with Dan Schneider, she helped to establish PCSAO in 1980 and began leading the association’s public policy and governmental affairs in 1986. Known statewide and nationally as a fierce advocate for abused and neglected children, Tenenbaum was a mainstay at the Ohio Statehouse. “Tenenbaum’s longtime service to PCSAO helped shape the association’s reputation for sound public policy for children and families, its staunch representation of public child protection in Ohio and its national reputation as a leader for innovation,” said PCSAO Executive Director Angela Sausser. “Policy makers often referred to her as ‘G-Force’ for her determination and influence. She earned the respect of legislators and members of Congress on both sides of the aisle, as well as the gratitude of children and families.”

Tenenbaum assisted with gubernatorial transitions, advised members of Congress, trained and mentored several generations of leaders, and achieved critical legislation and budget investments for children services. Tenenbaum brought PCSAO and other health and human service associations together in 2003 to establish the Emergency Campaign to Protect Ohio’s Future (now Advocates for Ohio’s Future), consulted for Voices for Ohio’s Children, and taught at Ohio University’s Voinovich School of Leadership and Public Affairs. Though she retired from PCSAO in 2015, she continued to advocate as a fellow at the Center for Community Solutions for youth with multi-system needs and children’s mental health, including trauma-informed care.

Tenenbaum, who was open about the abuse she suffered at the hands of her adoptive parents, spent her career fighting to protect all children from early trauma, abuse and neglect. “Gayle was one of the most generous and charitable people you could meet,” Sausser said. “She regularly made a personal difference in the lives of those who were struggling by securing housing, food and other basic necessities for them, and she made a difference in the lives of countless others through her public policy accomplishments. The State of Ohio has lost a tenacious leader.”

Among Tenenbaum’s many accomplishments:

  • Served on Children’s Advisory Committee during the Obama presidential campaign and continued as a member of the U.S. Department of Health and Human Services Transition Team;
  • Served as adjunct faculty at The Ohio State University School of Social Work, as a Senior Fellow at the Voinovich School at Ohio University, and as Adjunct Faculty at the Center for Child Studies at the Schubert Center, Case Western Reserve Center;
  • Served as Health and Human Services Policy Director for Governor Ted Strickland’s Transition Team and executive assistant of human services for Governor Richard Celeste;
  • Founded Channing and Associates, a human services and public policy consulting firm;
  • Received numerous awards including the Administration on Children, Youth and Families Commissioner’s Award, given to an individual in each state for exceptional contributions to the prevention of child abuse; Ohioan of the Year by The Cleveland Plain Dealer in 2001; induction into the Ohio Women’s Hall of Fame in 2010; and recipient of The Dan Schneider Strategic Leadership Award from the Voinovich School at Ohio University.