News: Please note that we’ve changed our URL to Bookmark our new site now.
  • "Enjoy the little things, for one day you may look back and realize they were the big things." –Robert Brault

    4 years ago
Tag Archives:


Volunteer Highlight – Elizabeth “Liz” Vaysman


Elizabeth “Liz” Vaysman

Workplace: A Baby Step Adoption

Practice Area: Private Adoption

Child Advocates Volunteer Attorney Since 2015

In her first and current case with Child Advocates, Liz represents five siblings. She has seen one of the children through to adoption and, through her advocacy, has ensured that the other children are now living in pre-adoptive homes with members of their extended family. Liz finds it rewarding to see how the family has stepped up to take care of the children and provide them with positive and caring home environments. While the children have been through difficult situations throughout the life of the case, Liz finds it gratifying to know that her efforts, with the support of the Child Advocates team, have helped all of the children end up in loving and supportive homes.

Liz enjoys working with Child Advocates because she finds it gratifying to feel connected to the community in a positive and productive way. Through her experience as a Child Advocates Volunteer Attorney, Liz feels that she has grown both as a lawyer and as a person.

39th Annual Philadelphia Bar Association 5k Run/Walk

Save-the-date for the 39th Annual Philadelphia Bar Association 5K Run/Walk! Join us on Sunday, May 20, 2018 at Memorial Hall in Fairmount Park and race to help abused children find more stable lives.

The Philadelphia Bar Association 5K Run/Walk is one of the oldest and most respected events of its kind in the City of Philadelphia! The Run/Walk format provides the opportunity for athletes of all levels to participate in this charity event organized by the Philadelphia Bar Association to spotlight its concern for the children of Philadelphia and to benefit the Support Center for Child Advocates. People of all ages will enjoy fun, family-friendly activities including the Buchanan Ingersoll & Rooney Kids Dash, the Caesar Rivise Team Competition, Face Painting, Balloon Animals and more!

EARLY BIRD SPECIALRunners who register online by Wednesday, February 28, 2018 will receive $5 off your registration fee!

Click HERE to register online.
Click HERE to download the registration form

Sponsorship Forms
Corporate Sponsorship Form – Click HERE
Law Firm Sponsorship Form – Click HERE

Caesar Rivise Team Competition Forms
Corporate Team Form – Click HERE
Legal Team Form – Click HERE
** NEW THIS YEAR – Get your friends together and join in on some friendly competition! Open Team Form – Click HERE


Presenting Sponsors
Buchanan Ingersoll & Rooney
Caesar Rivise
Firstrust Bank

Corporate Sponsors
Philadelphia Parks & Recreation
Veritext Legal Solutions

Legal Sponsors
Anapol Weiss
DLA Piper
Drinker Biddle & Reath
Offit Kurman
Philadelphia Bar Association
Stevens & Lee/Griffin

Questions? Contact Cate Galbally at 267-546-9216 or

Volunteer Highlight – James “Jim” Robinson

James “Jim” Robinson
Workplace: Gordon Rees
Practice Area: Aviation Litigation
Child Advocates Volunteer Attorney Since 1997

When asked about some of the most rewarding experiences as a Child Advocates Volunteer Attorney, Jim recalls representing the child of a teenage father and mother. Jim’s client had been removed from the young parents for her safety. After the failure of all attempts to reunify the child with her mother, and when it seemed that there was no option other than adoption, the biological father, though young, surprised everyone by turning his life around. The father obtained stable housing, a steady job, and attended parenting classes so that he could properly care for his daughter. Jim notes that being able to successfully advocate to place his client with her father was rewarding, especially when he was able to see all of the work that the father did to make reunification possible – work that changed the course of both of their lives.

In another case with Child Advocates, Jim represented a young client with complex medical needs who was removed from an abusive and neglectful mother. Throughout the case, it was a struggle to find a suitable pre-adoptive home for the child. Through diligent advocacy by Jim and his staff social worker partnered on the case, an appropriate home was found and the child was ultimately adopted. Jim recalls a memorable moment at the adoption hearing when the Judge invited the child behind the bench, and the child climbed up on his chair and began singing into the Judge’s microphone.

Jim believes that despite the horrific beginning that so many of these children have endured, they all deserve a “do-over.” Jim regards his work with Child Advocates as the most important legal work that he does. Jim also serves as a member of the Child Advocates Volunteer Committee and is a Child Advocates Board Member.

Thank you, Jim, for all you do to change the story for children!


#GivingTuesday Photo Op

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.

Read more +

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

Page 1 of 212