[Tallahassee, Florida] Alan Abramowitz, Executive Director of the Statewide Guardian ad Litem (GAL) Program, announced today that Judge Cindy S. Lederman, Miami-Dade Juvenile Court Judge, was named the 2014 National CASA Judge of the Year. The National CASA Association is a network of 933 programs that recruit, train and support volunteers to represent the best interests of abused and neglected children in the courtroom and other settings
In making the announcement Abramowitz stated, “Judge Lederman is a passionate supporter of the GAL Program and believes that every child in the dependency system should have a voice. Judge Lederman attends every GAL event, never missing an opportunity to compliment, encourage and empower our GAL volunteers. Local guardians love being in her courtroom because she not only validates the importance of what they do but also lets them know they are the critical eyes and ears of the court. Whenever newly-appointed judges come to dependency court, she makes a point of stressing the value and importance of the GAL Program and the GAL volunteers who are the foot soldiers of the dependency system and a voice for dependent children.”
Every year, National CASA Association honors the outstanding contributions of a judge who has furthered the best interest of children through their support of the GAL Program. Jessica Allen, Miami-Dade Director of the GAL Program stated, “At the heart of every successful GAL Program are dedicated judges, and Judge Lederman has shown her dedication to children’s issues and the GAL Program throughout her career. Her remarkable leadership includes such accomplishments as co-leading the team that created the Dade County Domestic Violence Court, helping to conceive of the Dependency Court Intervention Program for Family Violence, and co-creating the Miami Safe Start Initiative.” Leaderman, who came to the bench in 1988, has served on countless committees, written articles, developed programs and research and spoken about the needs of dependent children with compassion and purpose.
Another highly regarded judge in Florida who has dedicated his professional life to bettering the lives of children and families is the Honorable William E. Gladstone. When asked about Judge Lederman, he stated, “In terms of her caring from the bench, and brilliant interdisciplinary research and program development, Cindy Lederman has become America’s model dependency judge.”
National CASA Chief Executive Officer, Michael Piraino congratulated the Florida GAL Program for nominating Judge Cindy Lederman by saying, “Judge Lederman has been a leader in Florida and nationally on behalf of abused and neglected children. We are proud to have her as an enthusiastic supporter of volunteer Guardians ad Litem and CASA programs.”