Each year, the Youth Law Center presents the Loren Warboys Unsung Hero Award to individuals who have made exemplary contributions to improve the lives of at-risk youth in the child welfare and juvenile justice systems. This year’s awardees are:
Ron Clement was the CEO and sole staff of the “spent-out” and recently dissolved Haigh-Scatena Foundation located in Davis, CA, for nineteen years. The Foundation’s interests were in social change for disadvantaged children, youth and families. In his work at the foundation, he sought out, advised, and convinced the trustees to fund numerous organizations working to improve the juvenile justice system in California. Those efforts culminated with the Foundation’s final initiative and funding this year directed at closing the state’s youth prisons and creating local alternative programs and approaches. Previous to his work at the Foundation, Ron was the Executive Director of Diogenes Youth Services, a multi-faceted CBO headquartered in Sacramento, where he developed and operated juvenile offender programs in the Central Valley and had a hand in impacting juvenile justice legislation in Sacramento and Washington, D.C.
Mary Duran is a “veteran” of the child welfare system in Las Vegas. Mary was an honor roll student when she and her brothers and sisters were torn away from their parents, home, school and community by Child Protective Services (CPS) and placed in the local children’s shelter in foster care for nine months. Mary’s advocacy held her family together during the unnecessary nine-month removal from her home and was an integral part in their successful reunification
Cheryl Polk is the immediate past Executive Director of the Mimi and Peter Haas Fund, where she served for nine years. She has a wealth of experience as a clinical psychologist, academic, and civic volunteer. Cheryl began her career as a child welfare worker for severely abused adolescents. Over the past twenty-five years, she has worked tirelessly in a variety of settings, schools, adoption programs, hospitals, and social service agencies. Dr. Polk serves as a director of many professional and community organizations, including Zero to Three: National Center for Infants, Toddlers and Families, Jumpstart, and the W. Haywood Burns Institute for Justice, Fairness, and Equity.
RABBI STEVEN CARR REUBEN
Rabbi Steven Carr Reuben is immediate past President of the Board of Rabbis of Southern California as well as Senior Rabbi of Kehillat Israel Reconstructionist Congregation in Pacific Palisades, California. He is a nationally recognized expert in the field of moral education and the recipient of numerous community awards, including the Micah Award for founding the largest full-service homeless shelter in Los Angeles. Rabbi Carr Reuben is a member of Faith Communities for Families and Children (FCFC), a coalition of faith leaders of varying religious backgrounds organized to provide support to and advocate on behalf of children and families in the child welfare and juvenile justice systems. By his efforts Rabbi Carr Reuben has brought attention to the plight of the most underserved and ignored children in our society. His advocacy was directly responsible for ending the confinement of youth under inhumane and abusive conditions in the County’s adult jail