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CWLA Honored by Joint Meeting with Australia's First Lady

For more information, contact
Linda Spears
Phone: 703-412-3165

March 25, 2009, Arlington, VA -- Today Therese Rein, First Lady of Australia led a delegation of visitors to meet with Christine James-Brown, President and CEO of the Child Welfare League of America and its key leadership. Ms. Rein has been visiting the United States along with her husband Kevin Rudd, the Prime Minister of Australia. She was meeting with CWLA in her capacity as the new Patron for her country's National Association for the Prevention of Child Abuse and Violence and Neglect.

"I was greatly honored to have had the opportunity to meet with the First Lady and I am impressed that she has been willing to take on the important issues of child welfare and was willing to engage in this discussion with CWLA," said Ms. James-Brown. Ms. James-Brown served as president and CEO of United Way International prior to joining CWLA.

Ms. Rein has focused her career on assisting vulnerable populations including the unemployed and individuals with disabilities. In 2007 Prime Minister Rudd led a center-left Australia Labor party to victory in that year's election and became the 26th Prime Minister of Australia.

"We found a great deal of common ground regarding the needs of vulnerable children and families. We were able to share concerns that included Indian child welfare issues, the need to empower child welfare workers with critical tools and supports, and CWLA's efforts to re-establish a White House Conference on Children and Youth," said Ms. James-Brown.

The First Lady and Ms. James-Brown talked about the White House Conference as an example of how to elevate the priority placed on vulnerable children and youth in this country.

Ms. James-Brown extended and the First Lady accepted an invitation to be an honorary member of CWLA and the two agreed to continue to share information about how to improve the lives of vulnerable children and families in their respective countries and around the world.

Legislation to re-establish the White House Conference on Children and Youth has been introduced in the House (HR 618) with more than 40 sponsors and a Senate bill is expected to be introduced shortly. Ms. James-Brown and her organization are urging Congress to act quickly and will be calling on the President to sign this bill as soon as it arrives at his desk.

The meeting was also attended by:

Ms. Karen Burton, Assistant Advisor, Policy, Office of the Prime Minister;

Mr. Remo Moretta, Counsellor (Trade), the Embassy of Australia, Washington, DC;

Linda Spears, CWLA Vice President of Policy and Public Affairs, Ms. Spears has an extensive background in child protective service, Indian Child Welfare and domestic violence; and,

Ms. Julie Collins, CWLA Director of Practice Excellence oversees the development of child welfare standards and heads up CWLA's behavioral health and child abuse prevention activities.

Since 1920, the Child Welfare League of America (CWLA) has been the nation's pre-eminent organization dedicated to ensuring that disadvantaged and vulnerable children are protected from harm and have the tools and resources they need to grow into the healthy and happy adults we want them to become. CWLA is the trusted authority for professionals who work with children and the only national organization with members from both public and private agencies, providing unique access and influence to all sectors of the children's services field.

Joint Meeting with Australia's First Lady
Pictured (from left): Julie Collins, Director of Practice Excellence, CWLA ; Therese Rein, First Lady of Australia; Linda Spears, Vice President of Policy and Public Affairs, CWLA; and CWLA President/CEO Christine James-Brown.

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