Thursday, November 03, 2005

Heroes for Children Awards presented in Minneapolis

I came across this, and I thought it pretty well represented the kind of activity we are trying to praise and promote here at Probonolaw:
MINNEAPOLIS – Children’s Law Center of Minnesota (CLC) of St. Paul celebrated its tenth anniversary on October 6, 2005, with a benefit at the Millennium Hotel in Minneapolis. The evening was also an opportunity to honor two community leaders for a lifetime of making a difference in young peoples lives. Kerri Miller, MPR host of Midmorning & Talking Volumes, emceed the event and Connecticut Juvenile Court Judge Frederica Brenneman, the inspiration for the television series “Judging Amy” (CBS), and a pioneering judicial advocate for children’s rights, was present to honor this year’s award recipients, Justice Rosalie E. Wahl, who received the first Rosalie E. Wahl Justice for Children Award; and David L. Moore, founder and scoutmaster of Hmong Boy Scout Troop 100, who received the Heroes for Children Award. The law firms of Robins, Kaplan, Miller & Ciresi, Faegre & Benson, and Fredrikson & Byron, were also recognized for dedication to pro bono legal services for children. * * * * Children’s Law Center of Minnesota is a nonprofit organization with a mission to advance the rights and interests of Minnesota’s children, especially children of color and children with disabilities, in the judicial, child welfare, health care, and education systems. They work primarily on representation of more than 800 children in foster care through a multidisciplinary team of volunteer lawyer and CLC social worker; training and education of volunteer lawyers and other child advocates; and advocating for policy and system reform including employing an impact litigation strategy. CLC’s small multidisciplinary staff of social worker and lawyers has leveraged thousands of pro bono hours - valued at several million dollars- from volunteer lawyers to represent children in all areas of the law. Through two crucial programs in the Twin Cities: the Foster Child Advocacy Project and the State Wards: the Forgotten Children Project, CLC provides a voice for Minnesota’s youth and helps break the cycle of family and system failure. There youth testimonials at the banquet, which, demonstrated the impact the CLC has had in areas where children have no voice or representation. CLC helped one teen out of a foster home full of substance abuse. He also demonstrated a genuine medical need for braces that was denied until CLC won his appeal. Another girl was a ward of the state, and wanted to be adopted by a family other than the family the county selected. Although Andrea’s guardian ad litem and her birthmother supported Andrea’s request, neither the county worker nor the court would agree to the placement. With the help of a CLC volunteer lawyer, Andrea’s request to live with the family she selected was granted. CLC’s advocacy for children was recognized with the 2003 Minnesota Council of Nonprofits 2003 Advocate Award and the 1998 Midwest Human Rights Hero Award from the Midwest Coalition of Human Rights. Executive Director Gail Chang Bohr received the MSBA Civil Litigation 2004 Advocate Award for her work in improving procedural safeguards for children in Juvenile Court. Former U.S. Attorney General Janet Reno said, “I’m so impressed with what I’ve read about Minnesota Children’s Law Center. This is an example of what I talk about – of bringing social workers together with lawyers and others concerned with the interests of children to address the issues in a comprehensive way.”
This is what real lawyers do. The whole article is here, and it includes some touching information about Hmong Boy Scout Troop 100 as well.


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