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The Paris Social Services Committee of CSCI is comprised of volunteer professionals in various fields of discipline – from social services, to law, to academia. Sister Cities since 1996, the first social service exchange between Chicago and Paris was initiated by the Paris Social Services Committee of CSCI in 2010. The Committee hosted a delegation of Parisian agency heads as well as academics with the expressed goal of sharing best practice knowledge in the areas of child welfare and homelessness. The exchange was a success, prompting the City of Paris to host a second exchange in 2011 of Chicago professionals. After a two-year break, the knowledge, insights and action steps for both cities proved to be so compelling that a third exchange was hosted by the Paris Social Services Committee of CSCI in Chicago in 2014.

2014 Chicago-Paris Social Services Exchange

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From March 11–14, 2014, Parisian agency heads and social services professionals participated in a four-day immersion into Chicago’s social service networks. The Paris Social Services Committee planned an interdisciplinary, intercultural week of activities that helped to build partnerships and provide opportunities for dialogue and sharing of best practices among social service professionals from Chicago and Paris.

This included visits to various sites in Chicago, including:
After School Matters
Chicago Alliance to End Homelessness
Chicago Department of Family and Support Services
Children’s Home + Aid Society
Heartland Alliance
Inspiration Café
Jane Addams Hull House Museum
Lawrence Hall Youth Services
Metropolitan Family Services
Mujeres Latinas en Acción
National Immigrant Justice Center
New Moms Supportive Housing
Panera Cares
Primo Center for Women and Children
University of Illinois at Chicago
World Language High School
Youth Guidance

On the final day of the exchange, there was a debriefing session in which the Paris Social Services Committee and the Parisian del­egates reflected on the week’s activities and how the knowledge gained will help them in their professions here in Chicago and back home in Paris.

2014 Exchange Summary

2014 Exchange Sponsors
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Diamond Level ($2500+) Radisson Blu
Gold Level ($1000+) Cyrano’s Farm Kitchen
After School Matters
Silver Level ($500+) Alliance Francaise
Brett August
Anna Blum
Kathryn Engel
Caroline Shoenberger
Sofitel Luxury Hotels
Jennifer Welch
Bronze Level ($100+) Cheri Gibbs
Gary & Paula Randant
Katherine Ann Confections
Lawrence Hall Youth Services
Mary Ellen Caron