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June 3, 2010

SEN. VELMANETTE MONTGOMERY RECEIVES STATE BAR ASSOCIATION'S 2010 HOWARD A. LEVINE AWARD FOR EXCELLENCE IN JUVENILE JUSTICE AND CHILD WELFARE

Senator Montgomery honored for reforming juvenile justice system and her untiring commitment to children

ALBANY- State  Senator Velmanette Montgomery (D-Brooklyn), chair of the Senate Committee on Children and the Families, was honored with the prestigious 2010 Howard A. Levine Award for Excellence in Juvenile Justice and Child Welfare by the New York State Bar Association. Sponsored by the Committee on Children and the Law, the award recognizes individuals who have done outstanding work protecting and promoting the rights of New York's children. The award was presented on June 2 in a ceremony at the State Bar Center in Albany.

The committee recognized Senator Montgomery for her outstanding work in her role as committee chair in improving the lives of young people in crisis through reform of the state's juvenile justice, foster care and adoptive care systems. In 2008, she authored a law that allows adopted children to claim two parents of record, even if one parent dies before the adoption is final. She also is one of New York's leading proponents of the school-based health care system as a model for delivering comprehensive primary and mental health services to children of all ages.

"In the spirit of Howard A. Levine, Senator Montgomery is a true champion for children, protecting the welfare of our most vulnerable and fragile New Yorkers," said State Bar President Stephen P. Younger of New York (Patterson Belknap Webb & Tyler LLP). "The New York State Bar Association is proud to honor Senator Montgomery for her extraordinary work on behalf of our young people."

"From the beginning of her career as an educator to her 25 years of exemplary service as a New York state senator, Senator Montgomery has been a tireless leader and advocate for the well-being of our children," said Committee Chair Professor Merrill Sobie of White Plains (Pace University School of Law). "On behalf of the committee, we want to honor Senator Montgomery for her highly effective leadership on children's rights issues and her commitment to juvenile justice reform."

Also receiving the 2010 Howard A. Levine Award for Excellence in Juvenile Justice and Child Welfare was George E. Reed Jr. of White Plains (Law Offices of George E. Reed, Jr.). The committee recognized Reed for his 30 years of unwavering commitment to improving the juvenile justice system.

The award is named for retired Court of Appeals Judge Howard A. Levine (Whiteman Osterman & Hanna LLP), a strong proponent and leader in the effort to improve New York's child welfare and juvenile justice systems.

Past winners of the Howard A. Levine Award for Excellence in Juvenile Justice and Child Welfare include Gladys Carrión, Commissioner of the New York State Office of Children & Family Services; Hon. Eugene F. Pigott, Jr., Associate Judge of the New York State Court of Appeals; Assemblywoman Helene E. Weinstein; Hon. Judith S. Kaye, retired Chief Judge of the New York State Court of Appeals; and Matilda Cuomo, the former First Lady of New York.

Founded in 1876, the 77,000-member New York State Bar Association is the official statewide organization of lawyers in New York and the largest voluntary state bar association in the nation. The State Bar's programs and activities have continuously served the public and improved the justice system for more than 130 years.

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