SAN FRANCISCO—Diane Nunn, Division Director of the Center for Families, Children & the Courts, Administrative Office of the Courts (AOC), is the recipient of the First Annual Mark Hardin Award for Child Welfare Scholarship and Systems Change. The award, created by the American Bar Association Center on Children and the Law, honors the work of Mark Hardin who served for almost 30 years on the staff of the Center on Children and the Law as director of child welfare. Among the criteria for receiving the award was that the recipient should be someone who embodies “Mark’s leadership style, characterized by humility, a ‘willingness to serve,’ and a deep driving compassion for children and families.”
Nunn was cited for a lifetime commitment to improving the lives of families and children in California. After starting her career as a teacher, she became an attorney in private practice with an emphasis on family and criminal law, including domestic violence prevention and intervention. During this time she also served as a juvenile court referee for the Superior Court of Los Angeles. She joined the AOC in 1986, where she served as an attorney focusing primarily on juvenile and family issues for what is now the Office of the General Counsel. In 2000 she became the director of the Judicial Council’s AOC/Center for Families, Children & the Courts (CFCC), the first entity devoted exclusively to family and children’s issues in a statewide administrative office of the courts. As Division Director, Nunn leads a nationally-recognized team that provides an integrated, multidisciplinary approach to serving the state’s family and juvenile courts. Nunn credits her award to AOC and CFCC staff who are dedicated to supporting the work of court programs.
Judge Michael Nash, Presiding Judge of the Juvenile Court in the Superior Court of Los Angeles County, a colleague of Nunn’s for more than 20 years, commented that “Diane Nunn has inspired me and mentored me and countless others in our work in the juvenile court. She is always collaborative, recognizes and nurtures talent, inspires innovation, and never takes credit for ideas which began with her.”
Judge Dean Stout, Presiding Judge of the Superior Court of Inyo County, said “Diane Nunn’s deep knowledge of the law and remarkable ability to assemble and inspire the right people have led to landmark reforms in providing counsel to all children and parents, setting practice and caseload standards for attorneys, and developing local commissions on children in foster care to continue improving the courts.”
According to Justice Richard Huffman, Chair of the California Blue Ribbon Commission on Children in Foster Care, “Diane Nunn was a key architect of California’s legal framework for juvenile dependency practice, a tireless advocate for children, and a leader who has inspired literally hundreds of us in California and around the country.”
Diane Nunn will receive the award on June 28, 2012, at a ceremony held in conjunction with the annual Court Improvement meeting in Washington, D.C.