Liaison Profile - Laura Pedicini

September-October 2010

 

Laura PediciniMost of Laura Pedicini's nine liaison counties are rural and all feature farming or ranching. That suits Laura just fine. She lives in the small farming community of Gustine in Merced County, where her husband's family has a cherry orchard. She is the liaison to Glenn, Mariposa, Merced, Nevada, San Luis Obispo, Santa Barbara, Shasta, Tehama, and Yolo Counties. Before coming to work as an attorney with the AOC Center for Families, Children & the Courts, Laura was first a public defender for two years in Stanislaus County, representing parents and children in juvenile dependency proceedings and children in juvenile delinquency proceedings; she then spent seven years as a juvenile dependency and delinquency appellate attorney, again representing both children and parents.

Laura loves her work with the counties. She particularly loves attending local commission meetings and providing support to the local commissions as they work to achieve their goals. She expresses great delight about the way each county sets up its collaborative work in its own unique way—a way that inevitably is perfectly suited to the needs of that county. According to Laura, "The key to a successful local commission is a leader who is really committed to the process."

Laura considers her best attributes as a liaison to be her lengthy history as both a trial and appellate attorney in juvenile law, her access to people at the AOC with complementary skills, and her passion for juvenile law.

Laura has always believed juvenile dependency and delinquency to be the most important areas of the law, but that belief really solidified when she had children of her own: "I look at my two children and think that the worst punishment a person could possibly be given would be to lose his or her children—for me it would be much worse than being sentenced to lose my life." That deeply held belief informs her work at every step as she assists her liaison counties with their goals of keeping families together whenever it is possible and giving every child and family in the child welfare and juvenile court systems a voice in court and more meaningful participation in the proceedings that have such a profound effect on their lives.

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