Spinak Honored For Work With Children

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April 17, 2008 (NEW YORK) - Jane M. Spinak, the Edward Ross Aranow Clinical Professor of Law, will be presented the 2008 Howard A. Levine Award for Excellence in Juvenile Justice and Child Welfare on Thursday, April 24, at the New York State Bar Center in Albany.
The award, created in 1986, recognizes individuals who have done outstanding work and have led the effort to improve New York’s child welfare and juvenile justice system.
Spinak, who joined the faculty in 1982, co-founded Columbia Law School’s Child Advocacy Clinic, which represents children living in foster care in family-court proceedings. In the mid-1990s, she served as attorney-in-charge of the Juvenile Rights Division of the Legal Aid Society of New York City. In 2002, Spinak became the founding chair of the board of the Center for Family Representation, an advocacy group for parents’ rights in child-welfare proceedings.
Spinak and Margaret A. Burt, Esq., of Pittsford, one of New York’s most widely recognized child advocates, will each receive the 2008 award. The Honorable Edward O. Spain, Associate Justice of the Appellate Division, Third Department and Chairman of the Association’s Committee on Children and the Law, will present the awards.
“Professor Spinak and Ms. Bart represent the very best of child advocacy,” said Justice Spain. “They both work tirelessly to defend the rights of our most vulnerable citizens and it is an honor to recognize their selfless contribution to society.”
The Levine Award is named for Court of Appeals Judge Howard A. Levine, a strong proponent and leader in the effort to improve New York’s child welfare and juvenile justice systems who in 1979 became the first chair of the then NYSBA Special Committee on Juvenile Justice. The award is presented annually to individuals who demonstrate outstanding work protecting and promoting the rights of children in New York State.
Spinak serves on many task forces and committees to address the needs of children and families. She was named a “Human Rights Hero” for her work by the American Bar Association’s Human Rights Magazine.
She received her undergraduate degree from Smith College, and her law degree from New York University School of Law.