Foster Care Review Board looking for a few good judges, attorneys

The Foster Care Review Board is seeking nominations for its annual Child Welfare Awards, which honor judges, lawyers, foster care workers, and foster parents for exemplary service to children in Michigan’s foster care system.

“The awards recognize those who protect, care for, and advocate for foster care children and their parents,” said James Novell, FCRB program manager. “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.

Deadline is Sept 15. Award recipients will be recognized at the Nov. 10 FCRB annual training conference. Nomination forms can be found at http://www.courts.michigan.gov/scao/services/fcrb/fcrb.htm.

The FCRB provides a third-party review of the foster care system, and is administered by the State Court Administrative Office.

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Foster Care Review Board names three for exemplary child advocacy

Marquette County Probate Judge Michael J. Anderegg, attorney Rubina Mustafa and Department of Human Services caseworker Jeannine Benedetti have been named as recipients of Foster Care Review Board (FCRB) awards for their leadership and advocacy on behalf of children.

Jim Novell, who serves as Program Manager of the FCRB, said that the awards are given for exemplary rendering of service on behalf of abused and neglected children and families served by our state child welfare system.

“The recipients stand out not only for their professionalism and performance, but also for their dedication,” Novell said.

Anderegg received the board’s Jurist Award. The FCRB noted Anderegg’s “efforts to ensure safe and timely permanency for the children who come under his jurisdiction,” adding that the judge “has made significant contributions … in caring for our state’s most vulnerable children and families.”

Mustafa received the Lawyer-Guardian Ad Litem Award. The FCRB praised Mustafa as a zealous advocate who “goes above and beyond the statutory responsibilities of a L-GAL, remaining accessible to her clients at all hours and always looking for ways to push them toward
success.”

Benedetti was presented with the Foster Care Caseworker Award. In naming Benedetti for the award, the FCRB cited her “tireless advocacy,” noting that “she is a mentor, listening ear, and friend” who makes herself available outside of working hours to assist her young clients.

The FCRB, which was created by the Michigan legislature in 1981, serves as a statewide system of third-party review of the foster care system. The program is administered by the State Court Administrative Office, the administrative agency of the Michigan Supreme Court, and is comprised of citizen volunteers who serve on one of 30 local review boards throughout the state.