Louisiana Supreme Court - 400 Royal St., New Orleans, LA 70130 | Tel: 504-310-2300 Hon. Bernette J. Johnson. Chief Justice.  John Tarlton Olivier., Clerk of Court.  Sandra A. Vujnovich. Judicial Administrator
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2003 Press Releases

CONTACT PERSON: VALERIE WILLARD
PUBLIC INFORMATION OFFICER
(504) 599-0319

  JUNE 4, 2003

FOR IMMEDIATE RELEASE

Orleans Parish Juvenile Judge Ernestine Gray and Jefferson Parish Juvenile Judge Nancy Konrad were featured speakers today at the Women's Leadership Initiative's (WLI) 2nd Annual Public Policy Breakfast, Children - Our Focus and Our Future held at the Audubon Tea Room in New Orleans. Over 400 WLI members and guests were given a view from the bench of the workings of the child protection system. Joining them for the program which specifically addressed the issues of child abuse and neglect, foster care and prevention were Marketa Gautreau, President and CEO of Prevent Child Abuse Louisiana, and Kären Hallstrom, Louisiana Supreme Court Deputy Judicial Administrator - Children and Families, who served as moderator.

According to Hallstrom, "The Women's Leadership Initiative has taken a courageous step today by taking a hard look at the very uncomfortable topics of child abuse, neglect and foster care. It is encouraging that this dynamic association recognizes the importance of proactive involvement in improving the welfare of children."

Judge Gray provided a procedural overview of what happens once a abused and neglected child enters the court system up to adjudication and Judge Konrad continued with what happens to the child from adjudication through permanent placement. The judges' comments also included information on the federal law on safe and permanent placement of children, volunteer efforts such as CASA (Court Appointed Special Advocates), mediation in child abuse and neglect cases, and the work of the Louisiana Juvenile Justice Commission. Gautreau discussed Louisiana's child abuse and neglect prevention efforts and the Platform for Children and Youth of Louisiana, a plan designed to transform Louisiana from its low national ranking (49th) in its care of children.

The highlight of the program were comments and a musical performance by Robbie Steiner, a recent Metairie Park Country Day School graduate, an accomplished composer and musician and a former foster child "success story" from the greater New Orleans area.

The WLI, an arm of the United Way for the Greater New Orleans Area, is comprised of hundreds of corporate, civic and community leaders with a mission to support the unique health and human service needs of women and children in the Greater New Orleans Area through leadership, philanthropy and advocacy.

 

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