WILMINGTON, Delaware (April 19, 2012) – Richards, Layton & Finger attorney Melanie George Smith has been selected to receive the 2012 Commissioner’s Award from the Administration on Children, Youth and Families (ACYF). This prestigious award honors one recipient from each state, Puerto Rico, the District of Columbia and the Territories for making an exceptional contribution to the prevention and treatment of child abuse and neglect. The ACYF administers the federal programs that support children and youth and their families, offer protective services for children and youth in at-risk situations, and promote adoption of children with special needs. Smith received the Commissioner’s Award on April 19 at a ceremony held during the 18th National Conference on Child Abuse and Neglect in Washington, DC.
“I am humbled to be chosen to receive the Commissioner’s Award, and grateful that Richards Layton’s award-winning pro bono program has enabled me to do this important work,” says Smith. “I’m also thankful for the leadership and vision of Dr. Victoria Kelly, the director of Services for Children and Their Families in Delaware’s Division of Family Services.”
Through Richards Layton’s pro bono program, Smith frequently serves as a guardian ad litem for children in Delaware’s foster care system. In addition to her work at the firm, Smith is a State Representative of the 5th District of Delaware, serving as chair of the House Judiciary Committee and a member of the Joint Finance Committee. She co-founded and co-chairs the Delaware Kids Caucus, a group of legislators who advocate for children’s issues. Smith is also a member of the Child Protection Accountability Commission, which monitors Delaware’s child protection system to ensure the health, safety and well-being of the state’s at-risk children.
– – – – –
About the Administration on Children, Youth and Families
Part of the U.S. Department of Health and Human Services, the Administration on Children, Youth and Families administers the major federal programs that supply financial assistance to states, community-based organizations and academic institutions to provide services, carry out research and activities, and undertake training, technical assistance and information dissemination in support of at-risk children, youth and families.