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CAFY’s Kiddie- Court Program Nationally Recognized!

Largo, MD – Community Advocates for Family & Youth (CAFY), Court Education Program -Kiddie Court- received the Paul H. Chapman Justice Award. On Sept. 24, 2016, CAFY’s Kiddie Court was one of six recipients, nationally recognized for its outstanding work in the improvement within the judicial arena. This unique program teaches children about the judicial process and helps reduce the anxieties associated with adult court proceedings. Volunteers and trained advocates use a standardized curriculum that serves to improve children’s comfort and often credibility when testifying in court by offering their participation in a mock trail using an actual courtroom.

According to, Darlene Beckman, Executive Director, for the Foundation for Improvement of Justice (FIJ), shares that FIJ is a private not-for-profit institution founded in 1984 for the purpose of improving local, state, and federal systems of justice within the United States of America. At our 31st awards banquet on September 24, 2016 at the Four Seasons Hotel Atlanta, we honored our 2016 Paul H. Chapman Award winners. Each year, the Foundation accepts nominations for the Paul H. Chapman Award to recognize and reward individuals or organizations whose innovative programs and work have made improvements in the various systems of justice. Over $2,550,000 in cash awards have been distributed since 1986. Ms. Beckman says, “This was a very inspiring evening (the most I have ever experienced)”.

The recipient of this award, Arleen Joell, Executive Director of CAFY, spoke and said, “It was such an honor to have our program be seen as relevant and one that can be replicated across the nation. It is our hope that every time a child walks towards the witness stand to share their story; they will have had the opportunity to attend Kiddie Court. The Paul H. Chapman Award, from the Foundation for Improvement of Justice, Inc., has opened the door for us to expand and begin the
conversation with so many others communities. We are so appreciative to our community leader, Tallulah Anderson who nominated our program.”

CAFY is a 501(c) (3) victim services organization that offers programs to help individuals, families and communities survive the trauma associated with crime and receive the help and healing they need and deserve. CAFY offers a range of services, in both English and Spanish, that address the cause and impact of violence and crime including:

  • Case management;
  • Individual & family trauma-focused counseling;
  •  Weekly support groups for women, children, teens, and men;
  • Court education for youth, parents and adults (Kiddie Court);
  • Court companionship;
  • Community outreach and resource referrals.

Over the past 10 years, survey results show that 99% of parents indicate that their children have experienced a reduced sense of fear for the courtroom, and 40% of our children testify or believe they can. This program is an age-appropriate resource for educating children all ages, and can help reshape the stigmas associated with their participation in an adult judicial process.
For more information or to participate in an upcoming session, please call (301) 541-8927 or email The next session is being held on Oct. 15, 2016.

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