Waln Brown was born in York, Pennsylvania, a "surprise" child of ill-matched parents who did the "right thing" and got married. For the next 11 years, they fought constantly, creating an unhealthy environment that adversely affected Waln emotionally and behaviorally. Rejected by his father for "ruining his life," and confused by his mother's obsessive-compulsive disorder of washing him in her "crazy clean" solution of Lysol and ammonia, Waln began a pattern of acting out that led to placement in an orphanage, juvenile detention home, state psychiatric hospital and juvenile reform school. A terrible student who spent 8th grade in special education, failed the ninth grade and graduated 187th in a class of 192 students, Waln earned an A.S. degree from York College of Pennsylvania, B.S. from the Pennsylvania State University (summa cum laude) and M.A. and Ph.D. degrees from the University of Pennsylvania. He held positions with the Pennsylvania Department of Education, the National Center for Juvenile Justice and the Orthogenic School at the University of Chicago. Waln is the CEO of the William Gladden Foundation and the author of over 240 books, articles and popular publications about youth and family issues.