2009 Howard A. Levine Award for Excellence in
Juvenile Justice and Child Welfare
The New York State Bar Association’s Committee
on Children and the Law awarded Gladys Carrión
York (Commissioner, New York State
Office of Children and Family Services) and Karen J.
Freedman of New York (Lawyers for Children) with its 2009 Howard A. Levine Award for
Excellence in Juvenile Justice and Child Welfare. The awards ceremony
was held at the StateBarCenter in
Albany on June 2, 2009.
The Howard A. Levine Award is presented annually to
individuals who demonstrate outstanding work protecting and promoting
the rights of children in New York. The award is named for retired
Court of Appeals Judge Howard A. Levine, a strong proponent and leader
in the effort to improve New York’s child welfare and juvenile justice systems.
“Child advocates provide many important services
to improve the lives of our most vulnerable citizens, but their work
often goes unrecognized,” said Committee Chair Prof. Merril Sobie
Plains (PaceUniversitySchool of
Law). “Protecting the rights of children is a most honorable
endeavor and I am proud to recognize these two extraordinary
women’s great efforts.”
Gladys Carrión (Commissioner, New York State Office of Children and Family
Services), Honorable Howard A. Levine and Karen J.
Freedman (Executive Director, Lawyers for Children)
Committee Chair Professor Merril Sobie and 2009 Howard
A. Levine Award Winner, Commissioner Gladys Carrión
Gladys Carrión was
appointed Commissioner of the New York State Office of Children &
Family Services (OCFS) in January 2007. The numerous responsibilities
she oversees at OCFS include foster care, adoption and adoption
assistance; child protective services; preventive services for children
and families; child care services; and protective programs for
vulnerable adults. Carrión is also responsible for directing the
oversight, administration and management of specialized programs for
juvenile delinquents and juvenile offenders and residential facilities
for youth placed in the custody of OCFS by the family and criminal
courts. She is a graduate of FordhamUniversity
and New York University School of Law.
Committee Chair, Merril Sobie and 2009 Howard A.
Levine Award Winner, Karen J. Freedman
Karen J. Freedman is the
founder and Executive Director of Lawyers For Children Inc., a
not-for-profit legal corporation providing free legal and social work
services for children in foster care, abuse, neglect, termination of
parental rights, custody and adoption proceedings in New
York. Since founding LFC
25 years ago, Freedman has created several projects at LFC to serve
particularly vulnerable young people in the foster care system. These
include initiatives on behalf of lesbian, gay, bisexual, transgender and
questioning youth; young people who have been sexually abused; children
living in homes where domestic violence is present; youth in foster care
with mental health challenges; youth without adequate access to
appropriate educational services; and immigrant youth in foster
care. In addition, LFC has participated in
several important class action cases on behalf of youth in foster care
and maintains a division of LFC devoted exclusively to impact litigation
and child welfare policy. Before
establishing LFC, Freedman was a staff attorney with the Juvenile Rights
Division of the Legal Aid Society and a Law Clerk in the US Court of
Appeals for the Second Circuit. Freedman is
a graduate of WesleyanUniversity and New York University School of Law, where she was a Root
Tilden Scholar and a Hays Civil Liberties Fellow.
The 2008 Howard A. Levine Award recipients were Prof.
Jane M. Spinak (Columbia University School of Law) and Margaret A. Burt
of Pittsford. Other past recipients include Prof.
Sarah H. Ramsey (Director, Family Law and
Social Policy Center, Syracuse University College of Law); Mishi Faruqee
(Juvenile Justice Project at the Correctional Association of New
York); Hon. Judith S. Kaye (Retired Chief
Judge, New York State Court of Appeals); Hon. Edward O. Spain (Appellate
Division, Third Department); Prof. Sobie; Hon. Joseph M. Lauria (New
York City Family Court), Hon. Sharon S. Townsend (Erie County Supreme
Court); Hon. Eugene F. Pigott, Jr. (NYS Court of Appeals); and Matilda
Cuomo, the former First Lady of New York.