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CWLA Honors Six Exemplary Advocates whose Efforts are Helping Improve the Lives of Vulnerable Children

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Shawn Flaherty

Washington, DC -- The Child Welfare League of America (CWLA) recognized a number of individuals and organizations that have made significant contributions to the well-being of vulnerable children, including the late Senator Edward M. Kennedy. These awards were presented during CWLA's National Conference held recently in Washington, DC.

"As we celebrate our 90th anniversary, we reflect on extraordinary efforts that have shaped how children are treated and supported by society. We have come far, but the journey is not over. These honorees are among those who have helped us get to where we are today," explained Chris James-Brown.

CWLA presented one of its rare Child Advocate Legacy Awards for actions and efforts over a lifetime to Senator Edward M. Kennedy. Kennedy was recognized for his leadership around helping vulnerable people. During his 50-year tenure, he wrote and sponsored a myriad of important laws related to civil rights, fair housing, hate crimes, immigration reform, education, job training, family and medical leave, access for people with disabilities, foreign affairs, and health care. His advocacy led to the creation of CHIP, COBRA, Mental Health Parity, and other laws that continue to enhance the lives of children and families.

Two new workforce awards were presented this year as part of CWLA's ongoing efforts to address the workforce shortage in the child welfare field. Named for a CWLA past president, the David Liederman Award recognizes excellence in leadership training and development. The winner for this inaugural award was the New York-based Children's Village. Also, the Albert E. Trieschman Award was presented to Missouri Children's Division for its efforts to develop and support front-line child welfare workers.

CWLA's Anna Quindlen Award for Excellence in Journalism on Behalf of Children and Families recognizes journalists whose coverage of child welfare issues advances knowledge and understanding of the state of vulnerable children and families. Freelance journalist Daniel Heimpel won the award this year for his series of compelling stories in LA Weekly describing his experience as a volunteer for foster youth.

Sleepy's the Mattress Professionals was honored as a National Corporate Friend of Children for its partnership with CWLA to create the Warm a Child's Night pajama drive. Sleepy's headquarters, distribution centers, and all 700 showrooms became drop-off locations for pajamas, socks, slippers, robes, and other children's sleepwear items - all of which went to children served by CWLA's member agencies.

Finally, CWLA presented its Kids to Kids National Service Award to Bilaal Rajan, a 13 year old from Toronto. The award celebrates children and youth who have made outstanding contributions to their communities. Since he was four years old, Rajan has been raising funds for vulnerable children around the world and even published a book inspiring other youth to do the same thing.

About CWLA
CWLA is a powerful coalition of hundreds of private and public agencies serving vulnerable children and families since 1920. Through its programs, publications, research, conferences, professional development, and consultation, CWLA speaks with authority and candor about the status and the needs of American children, young people, and families. As the nationally recognized standard-setter for child welfare services, CWLA provides direct support to agencies that serve children and families, improving the quality of the services they provide to more than nine million children every year.

Since 1920, CWLA has been the nation's preeminent membership-based organization dedicated to ensuring that disadvantaged and vulnerable children are protected from harm and have the tools and resources they need to grow into healthy and happy adults. CWLA is the trusted authority for professionals who work with children and the only national organization with public and private member agencies working across all sectors of the children's services field.

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