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Former City Solicitor Shelley R. Smith joins Support Center for Child Advocates Board of Directors

FOR IMMEDIATE RELEASE                                                                     Contact: Moira Mulroney

Director of Development & Communications or 267-546-9208


July 1, 2016 Philadelphia, PA – Support Center for Child Advocates (Child Advocates) announces the addition of Shelley R. Smith to its Board of Directors. Ms. Smith joins the other members of the Board as a passionate and ambitious advocate of the nation’s oldest and largest pro bono legal and social services agency serving abused and neglected children.

Members of Child Advocate’s Board of Directors are charged with bringing their unique experiences and perspectives to enhance the agency’s mission and provide diligent fiscal and programmatic oversight to promote the agency’s work in the community.

“We are delighted to welcome Shelley to our Board of Directors,” said Frank Cervone, Executive Director. “Every Board Member plays a crucial role in the oversight of our agency and our efforts as we move to the future. I am confident that she will add to the rich diversity of background, talent, and experience of our Board.”

Ms. Smith is a Partner in the Philadelphia office of Archer Law where she counsels clients in commercial litigation and labor and employment matters. Ms. Smith joined the firm following a distinguished career in public service for the City of Philadelphia, most recently as the longest serving City Solicitor, representing the Mayor, City Council, all City elected officials, all City employees, Agencies, Boards, and Commissions.

Ms. Smith began her career with the City Law Department as a trial attorney in the Civil Rights Unit representing the City in constitutional tort cases alleging, primarily, of violations of the 1st and 4th amendments to the United States Constitution. As a trial attorney, she also served as in-house legal counsel for former Philadelphia Police Commissioner Richard Neal. Following her position in the Civil Rights Unit, Ms. Smith headed up the Law Department’s Affirmative Litigation Unit, which explored opportunities to pursue recovery on behalf of the City and initiated proceedings where appropriate and viable. She also led the City’s Labor & Employment Unit, which included labor grievances and employment discrimination cases initiated in state and federal courts and administrative agencies. Prior to her role as City Solicitor, Ms. Smith served as Chair of the Law Department’s Corporate and Tax Group where she managed the transactional work of the full-service department, including real estate, tax and intellectual property matters.

A graduate of Villanova University School of Law and Temple University, Ms. Smith has served on the Philadelphia Bar Association’s Commission on Judicial Selection and Retention, the Southeastern Pennsylvania Advisory Commission for Pennsylvanians for Modern Courts, and the Law and Public Safety Stakeholders Partnership of the Philadelphia School District. She is also on the Board of Directors of Lincoln Day Nursery, the oldest nursery program in Philadelphia serving predominantly African-American families.

About The Support Center for Child Advocates

The Support Center for Child Advocates provides legal assistance and social service advocacy for abused and neglected children in the Philadelphia County. Child Advocates is one of the most successful volunteer models serving children in the country. Since its founding in 1977, Child Advocates has trained more than 8,000 attorneys who contribute pro bono services valued at more than $5.1 million annually.

Seven child welfare workers fired for false reports

May 3, 2016
By: Julia Terruso

Seven child-welfare workers in Philadelphia were fired in February and March in connection with at least two false reports about home visits, according to state officials.

Rachel Kostelac, a spokeswoman for the state Department of Human Services, said three were workers from Community Umbrella Agencies contracted by the city to handle cases, and four were with subcontracted foster-care agencies.

The report of the firings followed remarks Friday by a state DHS official, who said child-welfare workers in Philadelphia had falsified reports in response to high caseloads.

Read more +

Mayor Kenney Signs First Bill into Law

We are honored to be the beneficiary of Mayor Kenney’s first law! Our contract with the City allows us to provide high quality services to more than 1,000 child clients this year. We will leverage the City’s support to raise another $2 million in charitable dollars and more than $5 million in pro bono services from our amazing volunteer lawyers! Together, we can change the story.


For Immediate Release: February 26, 2016
Contact: Lauren Hitt, 443-370-3205,

Mayor Kenney Signs First Bill into Law
PHILADELPHIA – Today, Mayor Kenney signed his first bill into law. The Bill, No. 160009, will authorize a contract with the Support Center for Child Advocates to provide legal representation for kids in Department of Human Services (DHS) cases.

“It is important for children who have been abused and neglected to have someone fighting and advocating on their behalf,” said Acting DHS Commissioner Jessica Shapiro. “The Support Center for Child Advocates provides high quality representation to our most vulnerable population.”

Councilman Bill Greenlee introduced the measure on behalf of the Administration. “The Support Center for Child Advocates has a long history of doing great things for the youth of our City. I am pleased their association with the City is continuing,” he said. Council Committee on Children and Youth Chair Helen Gym, who also played a key role in guiding the measure through Council, said, “Child Advocates is a vital resource in helping children who have faced abuse or neglect to return to well-being and obtain justice. We are fortunate to be able to rely on their expertise and professionalism.”

The Support Center for Child Advocates is the nation’s oldest and largest program dedicated exclusively to providing free legal and social services for abused and neglected children. They team volunteer attorneys with staff social workers and lawyers to advocate for children in crisis in Philadelphia.

Donations of time, money can benefit veterans, foster children

December 21, 2015
By Philadelphia Inquirer writer Erin Arvedlund

Want to invest in something worthwhile for the holidays? Consider becoming an advocate for a foster kid or a homeless veteran.
Support Center for Child Advocates, the foster-child advocacy group, is looking for volunteer attorneys.

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To keep children safe, continue DHS reforms

Please take a moment to read Frank’s op-ed published today in The Philadelphia Inquirer.

“It is our mandate as a community to hold the system responsible, continue to push for growth and change, and participate fully in that evolution. The work of change is never finished, but the system is on the right path.”

Click HERE to read the article in its entirety.

Child Welfare and the Mayoral Transition

The Philadelphia child welfare reform initiative “Improving Outcomes for Children” continues to show promise, but the work is certainly not done yet.  The Support Center for Child Advocates offers analysis and recommendations to Mayor-Elect Jim Kenney and his Transition Team.  We look forward to working with members of the new administration, to the success of its programs and for the well-being of all the children and families of our community.

To read Frank Cervone’s full memo to Mayor-elect Jim Kenney please click here: Child Welfare and the Mayoral Transition

Frank Cervone on ME TV

An interview with Frank Cervone with ME TV where he speaks about disciplining children and identifying child abuse. Please watch!


Frank P. Cervone is executive director of the Support Center for Child Advocates in Philadelphia.