People of CRH: David Goldstein

Enter the CRH office of David Goldstein, and you’ll always hear music playing. It’s not just any music; it’s the Grateful Dead: the eclectic 1960s band known for its warm worldview and welcoming fan culture. 

But the Dead is more than music to David’s ears – the band’s inclusive vision reflects a big-picture philosophy that has informed David’s decades of service to children, including his 39 years as Lead Social Worker at the Children’s Receiving Home of Sacramento. 

“I’ve adopted the band’s philosophies in my personal and professional life about how they approach issues,” he said. “It’s all about reflection and inspiration!”

David began his decades-long career of helping children as a Southern California park-district professional during one of the most tumultuous eras in American history: the Vietnam War. His positive work with kids during a profoundly challenging time in our nation influenced him to go to college and pursue a career doing what he loved: assisting and empowering children. That commitment to positive change brought him to Northern California, where David received his social-work degrees at Chico State and Sacramento State Universities. While he was at Sac State finishing his master’s, he heard of a job opportunity at CRH; he applied, and the rest is history.

“As a social worker at CRH, I’ve done it all: In addition to social work — implementing and overseeing services, coordinating casework and serving as a link between children, families and agencies — I help fill all types of needs across campus,” he said. “I challenge myself a lot, and I enjoy the work.” 

During his 39 years here at CRH, David has seen continuous change to both the campus and programs. But what hasn’t changed is the vital work itself: positively impacting the lives of children, youth and families affected by abuse, neglect, behavioral health issues, and trauma. Over the years, kids have remained simply kids to David: Whether they’re part of a fun park-district event or dealing with some of the worst crises imaginable, he treats them all respectfully, equally and mindfully, in keeping with his Grateful Dead mindset. 

“It’s all about the relationships you create,” he said. “I have so many very fond memories of people. My greatest reward is when kids come back and make connections with us: You see the adult in front of you, but when they say who they are, you again see them as a youth.” 

David is now retiring, and, as his favorite band sings, he’s going to “hang it up and see what tomorrow brings.” He looks forward to spending time with family and friends, hanging out with his corgi dog Jerry (named after the Dead’s lead singer) and, of course, continuing to be an ambassador of music-infused philosophies. But for those perhaps just starting out in the field of caring for children, or for anyone seeking direction in their lives, he has some simple advice.

“What has helped me in my life and work is that I’ve always followed my passion,” he said. “I tell everyone: ‘Follow your bliss!’”