Duly Noted

Nominations open for child welfare awards

The Foster Care Review Board seek nominations for its annual Child Welfare Awards, which honor exemplary service to children in Michigan’s foster care system.

FCRB Program Manager James Novell said, “The awards recognize those who protect, care for, and advocate for foster care children and their parents. These people have tremendous responsibilities, yet receive little, if any, recognition. The Child Welfare Awards were established to honor them and call attention to their difficult and demanding work.” Categories include “Jurist of the Year” (judges and referees), “Foster Care Worker of the Year,” “LGAL of the Year” (lawyer guardians ad litem), “Foster Parent of the Year,” and “Parent Attorney of the Year.”

The deadline is Sept. 15. Award recipients will be recognized at the FCRB annual training conference on Nov. 10 in Southfield. Nomination forms are available online at www.courts.michigan.gov/scao/services/fcrb/fcrb.htm.

The FCRB provides a third-party review of the foster care system. The program is administered by the State Court Administrative Office; citizen volunteers serve on one of 30 local boards which review randomly chosen child abuse/neglect cases to assess the performance of courts, the Dept. of Human Services, and private child welfare agencies.

Volunteers needed at Learning Center

A passion for learning is among the requirements for a volunteer opportunity with the Michigan Supreme Court Learning Center.

Volunteer docents guide school groups and other visitors through the 3,800 square foot education center, located on the first floor of the Michigan Hall of Justice.

Legal training and teaching experience are helpful but not required, stressed Learning Center Coordinator Rachael Drenovsky. “Learning Center docents are ambassadors for the judicial branch, so they need to be good learners and communicators,” Drenovsky said. Responsibilities include demonstrating interactive computer games and other hands-on activities at the center, including a virtual courtroom. Other duties include working behind the scenes on workshops and special programs.

Docents attend a series of three-hour orientation sessions and commit to a minimum of eight hours per month.

Applications are due by Sept. 16; visit the web site at http://www.courts.michigan.gov/plc/volunteer.htm or call 517-373-5027.