January 12, 2009


Fund provides financial support through grant awards to New York State's Youth Courts

In tribute to her commitment to the youth of New York State, the Board of Directors of The New York Bar Foundation has renamed its Youth Court Fund in honor of retired Chief Judge of the New York Court of Appeals, Judith S. Kaye.  The Judith S. Kaye Youth Court Fund will provide financial support through grant awards for activities of Youth Courts throughout the state. 

In a joint resolution from the New York State Bar Association and The New York Bar Foundation, Judge Kaye was recently recognized as an innovative problem-solver during her 25 years of service on the state's highest court, the New York Court of Appeals.  The resolution also lauded her 15-year leadership as Chief Judge, where she spearheaded programs that significantly improved the administration of justice for New York's children and families.

"We are pleased and proud to name The Foundation's Youth Court Fund in honor of the distinguished Judith S. Kaye," said John R. Horan, Foundation president. "Judge Kaye's outstanding and visionary leadership, along with her extraordinary commitment to and affection for children, has played a significant role in helping to improve the lives of countless New York families."

There are more than 100 Youth Courts in cities, towns and villages in New York that deliver justice to youths between the ages of seven and 15.  The courts seek to improve juvenile justice outcomes through an alternative to the criminal justice system for community youth.  Youth Courts have been emerging as the fastest growing juvenile intervention programs in the country.  In the past, Foundation grant awards have helped support Youth Court education programs and other initiatives.

Youth Courts are specifically designed to help those who have committed offenses no more serious than a misdemeanor through early intervention and education.  While Youth Courts hold offenders accountable for negative behavior, at the same time, they teach youthful offenders to respect themselves along with individuals, families and property in their own communities.  Youth Courts are collaborations of local criminal justice agencies, schools and the community and are operated by high school-age youth.

In addition to her many accomplishments including having served the longest of any Chief Judge in state history, Judge Kaye served as Chair of the Permanent Judicial Commission on Justice for Children for more than 17 years.  In that capacity, she led the initiative, Babies Can't Wait, which recognizes that infants in foster care require early medical attention and provides training to court and child welfare staff on infant health and development. In 2008, Judge Kaye served as editor of a special issue of the State Bar Journal, "Our Children, Our Future," which elaborated on issues relating to justice for children.  Additionally, in January 2008, she served as moderator of the New York State Bar Association's Presidential Summit panel entitled, Breaking the Cycle for Youth at Risk.

New York State Bar Association President Bernice K. Leber added, "Judge Kaye truly understood that our children are our future.  Her commitment to justice for young people will leave a lasting imprint on the next generation of New Yorkers.  As members of the Bar, we are proud to rename this Fund as a tribute to this legacy." 

The New York Foundation is undertaking a fundraising drive to increase the financial support that it will make available through grant awards for New York's Youth Court activities.  To help accomplish this initiative, please make a contribution to The Foundation for The Judith S. Kaye Youth Court Fund.  To make an online contribution to this restricted fund, go to or mail your check, made payable to The New York Bar Foundation. Please mail your check to The New York Bar Foundation, One Elk Street, Albany, NY, 12207. Donations to The New York Bar Foundation are tax-deductible as a charitable contribution as permitted by law.

Established in 1950, The New York Bar Foundation is dedicated to aiding charitable and educational projects to meet the law-related needs of the public and the legal profession. For more information, contact Rosanne Van Heertum, director of development, at 518/487-5650 or go to to make an online donation.