Children’s Rights Committee Bestows 2010 Child Advocate of the Year Award

“Cathy Badal (fourth from right) received the Children’s Rights Committee Child Advocate of the Year Award during the spring CLE program at PBI headquarters in Mechanicsburg. With Badal are (from left) Judge Mary Ann Campbell, Wendie Ziegler (GAL), Judge Elizabeth Ehrlich, Rachel Meaker (Legal Services Training Specialist), Roz Hyman (Cathy’s mother), John Badal (Cathy’s  husband), Narcy Hughes (Juvenile Court Master) and Lisa Siciliano (Family Court Coordinator). The Children’s Rights Committee announced the recipient of this year’s Child Advocate of the Year Award is Cathy Badal. She  received the award at the committee’s spring CLE program on April 16 at PBI headquarters in Mechanicsburg. Ms. Badal hasbeen involved in the child welfare system for more than 18 years and currently serves as a guardian ad litem in Berks County. Previously, she served as a Juvenile Court master for dependency for six years. In both capacities, she has been instrumental in effectuating extraordinary changes which have significantly impacted the lives of dependent children in Berks County. As a Juvenile Court master, she understood the importance of knowing the history of each case and created a protocol of preparing an exhaustive Master’s Report for each child for every review hearing. Furthermore, she changed the customary process of terminating dependency cases for children who attained the age of 18 to permit dependent youth to remain in the custody of Children and Youth Services as long as he or she is engaged in a course of instruction or treatment. Having graduated summa cum laude and Phi Beta Kappa from Temple  University and Dickinson Law School with honors, Badal has had her choice of professional careers. Although she  has practiced  with a private firm ( Liever, Hyman & Potter )in the past in the areas of personal injury and worker’s compensation, she has chosen to return to the position of guardian ad litem, which she finds more gratifying and morally rewarding. The comittee  received multiple nominations for Badal this year. She is described as a trail-blazer and tireless advocate for the children she represents; extraordinarily well prepared for every court appearance and willing to go the extra mile to meet anyone involved in the case to formulate the best possible outcome for her client; and a constant watchdog against children “falling through the cracks”  of the system through meaningful oversight over the child while in placement and  at home. Badal is also described as a faithful presence for the children she represents and incredibly persistent in her pursuit of justice.  She is infinitely patient but passionate  about her practice. She makes a personal connection with every child she represents by always including her client in the process and making them the central and most important aspect of every single case. Badal’s nomination forms were supported by letters from child advocates, a solicitor, a master and a judge with a universal theme that she is an excellent, zealous advocate  for her clients and an extremely skilled lawyer committed to seeing the right outcome for each dependent child she represents.
We are pleased to select Cathy as this year’s recipient of the Children’s Rights Committee Child Advocate of the Year Award.” Cathy Badal is the spouse of John R. Badal, President of the law firm of Liever, Hyman & Potter, Reading, PA.  She was previously  employed by the firm where she came under the tutelage of her father and founding partner LeRoy Hyman, Esquire . She was a  valued member of the firm with her primary focus in the areas of workers compensation and personal injury. She later decided  to devote her full time efforts to representing dependent children who came under  the care of the Berks County Court. Our loss was the gain of the many children she has so zealously and caringly represented. Kudos to Cathy.

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