Thursday, August 24, 2006
Valley Community Legal Foundation to Help Finance Children’s Waiting Room for San Fernando Court
By TINA BAY, Staff Writer
The Valley Community Legal Foundation, the San Fernando Valley Bar Association’s non-profit charitable arm, has taken action to support fundraising for a children’s waiting room in L.A. Superior Court’s San Fernando courthouse.
The foundation’s board, comprised of lawyers, bench officers, and local business people, unanimously passed a resolution in recent weeks to support fundraising for the establishment of the children’s waiting room, which would serve as a child care center for parents who have business in the North Valley District facilities.
According to VCLF’s 2006-2007 President Marcia Kraft, the board considers the
project a top priority and is working on it in conjunction with the court and North Valley District Supervising Judge Alice Hill.
Hill confirmed that the court is working on the project, but said there are only general proposals at this point.
“We are delighted about the possibility of having a children’s waiting room in San Fernando,” Hill told the MetNews. “Obviously, this is a service we would like to offer to the public that’s coming into our courthouse.”
The children’s waiting room idea was originally proposed by Los Angeles Superior Court Commissioner Alan H. Friedenthal, a longtime member of VCLF’s board, before his election to the bench last year. Friedenthal, who presently sits in the San Fernando courthouse, was instrumental in securing VCLF’s commitment to help establish a similar project for the Northwest District courthouse in Van Nuys.
Judge Michael R. Hoff, supervising judge in Van Nuys, said he thinks both San Fernando as well as his courthouse would benefit from a children’s waiting room.
“We expect that it’s going to be a great help to the litigants,” he commented. “The big user is going to be the family law department. You don’t like to see mom and dad fighting with their kids in the courtroom. This will stop that.”
Hoff added that construction of the Van Nuys children’s waiting room, which will be located on the first floor adjacent to the main filing office, is at the top of the court’s priority list and is progressing with the county’s help.
Kraft said that VCLF aims to raise approximately $50,000 for the San Fernando project, mainly through their annual “Law Day” gala, a fundraising event which is scheduled to take place on May 12 of next year. The foundation has traditionally distributed contributions raised through the event in the form of scholarships and grants. VCLF also plans to raise moneys for the waiting room by sending out solicitation letters to bar membership.
“I’m thrilled that the board has agreed to pursue the children’s waiting room in San Fernando,” Kraft said. “I believe it will enhance and assist the community in achieving greater access to the courts.”
VCLF’s mission, she explained, includes providing funds and educational support for law-related programs that assist children, families, domestic violence victims.
Copyright 2006, Metropolitan News Company