Loyola University Chicago

Center for the Human Rights of Children

Gertrud Lenzer


Gertrud Lenzer

Gertrud Lenzer is a Professor of Sociology and Children's Studies at Brooklyn College and in the Ph.D. Program of the Graduate Center of The City University of New York. In 1991, Prof. Lenzer founded the Sociology of Children as a new field and Section of the American Sociological Association, and she was designated as its Founding Chair.  Under her leadership, in 1994, Brooklyn College became the first academic institution to develop an interdisciplinary liberal arts Children's Studies program.  In 1997, she founded the Children’s Studies Center for Research, Policy and Public Service. The U.N. Convention on the Rights of the Child (CRC) provided the overarching framework for this new interdisciplinary field and focus for the work of the center.


Gertrud Lenzer has been a member of the Campaign for the Ratification of the CRC since its inception and has participated in national and international meetings and publications on the CRC and global initiatives to end violence against children.  The Children's Studies Center has spearheaded legislation for the establishment of the Child Rights Institution of an Independent Office of the Child Advocate in New York State.  On a regular basis, the Children's Studies Center Child Policy Forum of New York provides a platform for discussion of topics pertinent to the CRC. The center received national recognition in a 2010 United States Treaty Report for its essential role of bringing attention to the CRC, especially as it concerned their 2009 Third Child Policy Forum topic: “Implementation and Monitoring of the Optional Protocol to the U.N. Convention on the Rights of the Child on the Sale of Children, Child Prostitution and Child Pornography.”  In 2011, the center held a National Consultation, “Social Justice for Children:  To End Child Abuse and Violence Against Children.”   One of the major goals of the consultation is to draw attention to the extensive use and effects of violence against children in the home, schools, foster care, juvenile/criminal justice systems and other social settings throughout our society.


During her career, Gertrud Lenzer received the national 1997 Lewis Hine Award in Honor of Outstanding Service on Behalf of Children and Youth of the National Child Labor Committee and has been the recipient of such distinguished fellowships as the American Council of Learned Societies Fellowship in American Studies, a Rockefeller Foundation Fellowship in the Humanities, at Visiting Fellowship at the Institute for Advanced Study in Princeton, a Fellowship at the National Humanities Center, and a Research Fellowship at the Rockefeller Bellagio Center, Italy.  In addition, she was selected as the first American scholar and the first woman to deliver the 12th Auguste Comte Memorial Lecture at the London School of Economics. 


Prof. Lenzer’s current work includes appointment to the 16 member New York State Advisory Committee of the U.S. Commission on Civil Rights.  In addition, she has participated in a public hearing sponsored by New York State Assembly Standing Committees on Codes, Judiciary, Children and Families, Education, and New York State Black, Puerto Rican, Hispanic and Asian Legislative Caucus in New York City on December 6, 2013 where she provided testimony on "Examination of Laws Governing the Age of Adult Criminal Responsibility.”