From the Chair

By Nicki Noel Vaughan

Welcome to the Spring, 2019 issue of Kids Matter. Thanks to Tonya Boga, the Kids Matter Editor since the newsletter was first published in January, 2013, for bringing us this edition which highlights the section’s activities during the last quarter.

Big News

Georgia Appleseed has selected the section to receive a prestigious Good Apple Award for 2019 for its work to make Georgia more just for its youth! The award will be presented at the Georgia Appleseed Good Apple event April 24.

Important Reminders

All of you should have received two important notices in the past month:

  • Invitation to nominate yourself or others to the Executive Committee and
  • Nomination for both a judge and a lawyer for the Willie Lovett Awards

Please respond ASAP. If you need more information, please email or call one of the officers.


Since reaching the 500-mark a couple of years ago, section membership has remained fairly stable. We currently have 524 members.

Activities of the Quarter

The section made its annual holiday donation to the Hall-Dawson CASA program, designating that we wanted it to be used specifically for gifts for teenagers, who are often forgotten in the midst of giving toys to younger children. They were very appreciative.

The CLE on the Family First Prevention Services Act that was going to be
held at the Mid-year Bar Meeting in Macon in January was cancelled due to lack of enrollment. The Section did go forward with the Happy Hour that was held at the offices of Georgia Legal Services where EC member Ira Foster served as a gracious host to welcome section members and other members of the Macon Bar, including its President.

Later in January, at our Annual CLE at the State Bar Center, the Family First Act presentation, describing what has been hailed as the most significant federal child welfare legislation in decades, was presented. Additional topics presented included Fetal Alcohol Syndrome, case law updates, a report on the current status of DFCS and ethics and professionalism presentations. Close to 100 people attended, and the section granted all 14 scholarships requested.

The Section Annual Meeting was held during the lunch break. Laurie Thomas, Chair of the Nominating Committee, presented a slate of officers who were unopposed and, therefore elected: Nicki Vaughan, Chair, Tonya Boga, Vice-chair, J.P. Berlon, Secretary and Randee Waldman, Treasurer.

The Section also agreed to support an expansion of the school dropout pipeline- to-prison program. The expansion will include a week long summer pre-law program for at risk students in Macon, similar to the program that the State Bar of Georgia Diversity Program currently operates out of John Marshall Law School in Atlanta.

As you can see, the Section is attempting to broaden its base to reach members and potential child law practitioner members. We welcome and encourage your thoughts and ideas about how we can do this more effectively.

As always, we want and need the support of all our members. We encourage you to volunteer to serve on the Executive Committee or any committee. And PLEASE nominate people for our two Willie Lovett Awards to be presented at the State Bar Annual Meeting in June. Thank you all for your continued interest and support.