Bill Grimm, Veteran Child Welfare Litigator, Honored by American Bar Association

Bill Grimm, who has helped lead reform-prompting litigation against several state and county child welfare systems, has been awarded the Mark Hardin Award by the American Bar Association Center on Children and The Law.

The award has been given every year since 2012 in honor of Mark Hardin, who joined the staff of the center in 1980 and retired as its director of child welfare in 2009.

“I witnessed first-hand his commitment and passion for children and families,” Grimm said of Hardin, in a statement that announced the award. “To be selected to receive this award in his honor is an unimaginable privilege.”

Grimm is the senior directing attorney at the National Center for Youth Law (NCYL), where he has worked since 1998. He was a lead attorney on the organization’s lawsuits against the State of Washington and Clark County, Nevada, among other prominent litigation and advocacy campaigns.

Prior to joining NCYL, he worked in the child advocacy unit of the Maryland Legal Aid Bureau. Grimm was nominated for the award by NCYL colleague Anna Johnson, who worked closely with Grimm on an investigation into over-drugging of foster youth.

“What I admire most about Bill is that he always puts the voice and experience of children first,” Johnson said, in her nomination of Grimm. “In just three months we conducted confidential qualitative interviews with dozens of current and former foster youth impacted by psychotropic medication. Bill made sure we asked what they thought would be helpful policy solutions – and now today a majority of the youth’s suggestions are set in California code.”

Past winners of the Hardin Award include Angela Adams, a former New Mexico child welfare attorney who became a national consultant and trainer; Bob Schwartz, the former executive director of Juvenile Law Center in Philadelphia; and Debra Alsaker-Burke, a child welfare court leader in Idaho.

NCYL is based in Oakland, California, with offices in Los Angeles and San Jose, Phoenix and Washington, D.C. Grimm will receive the award at the ABA Center on Children and the Law’s annual conference next month.

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