If you have ever wanted to make a difference in the lives of children, you will never have a better opportunity. Children’s lives are at stake. In 2013, there were over 8,500 reports of child abuse in Jefferson County alone. In 2012, there were 15,699 cases of child abuse and neglect in Kentucky. Tragically, this number included 55 fatalities and near fatalities.
As a result of the tremendous success of National Council of Jewish Women’s prior Court Watch project, which dealt with domestic violence, NCJW, Louisville Section has been called on by the local courts to play an important role in the re-examination of the court system’s handling of child abuse and neglect cases.
Family Courts in Jefferson County are closed courts; however, NCJW Court Watch Project would be allowed to monitor cases for the specific purpose of providing feedback. At the request of the Chief Judge of Jefferson County Family Court, NCJW will train volunteers to go into the courtrooms to monitor and record statements, behaviors and attitudes in cases involving child abuse and neglect. The data will then be compiled and NCJW will prepare a report for the judges advising them of the findings.
We have a chance to help the court system again, and this time, the potential beneficiaries are children. What more worthy calling could come our way?
NCJW is asking volunteers for a commitment of just one morning per week for three months. Training will take place August 26 and August 27 and the Court Watch itself will begin September 2. NCJW volunteers will be in court three mornings a week from 9-noon for three months.
NCJW is also seeking to hire a paid volunteer coordinator for this job. This is a temporary position that will run from April 2014 through January 2015. The purpose of the position is to provide training, oversight, and support for NCJW volunteers as they monitor child abuse and neglect cases pending in Jefferson County Family Court.
If you are interested in either volunteering or applying for the Volunteer Coordinator position, please call the NCJW office at 458-5566.
In conjunction with this endeavor, NCJW is fortunate to have Chief Family Court Judge Patricia Walker FitzGerald as the speaker at its closing meeting on Wednesday, May 28, at Majid’s at 11:30 a.m. The Section will also be presenting Sandi Friedson with the prestigious Henrietta Herzfeld Award for her many years of service to our section.
NCJW invites the community to attend. Reservations, $30 per person, are required. Seating is limited.