Campus News

Karen Freedman '75 Wins Common Good Award

Story posted June 16, 2000

Karen J. Freedman, Bowdoin class of 1975, was presented with the Common Good Award during Reunion Weekend, June 3.

Established in 1993 as part of Bowdoinís bicentennial celebration, the Common Good awards bestow high distinction on those Bowdoin alumni who personify the idea of the common good as set forth by Bowdoinís first president, Joseph McKeen. In his inaugural address on September 2, 1902, McKeen reminded his audience that, "It ought always to be remembered that literary institutions are founded and endowed for the common good and not for the private advantage of those who resort to them for education. It is not that they may be able to pass through life in an easy and reputable manner, but that their mental powers may be cultivated and improved for the benefit of society."

Freedman is the executive director and co-founder of Lawyers For Children, Inc., a nonprofit organization that provides free legal and social work services to thousands of foster-care children in and around New York City. Lawyers For Children represents children placed into foster care, and represents children whose parents or care-givers are in abuse, neglect, termination of parental rights, visitation, and custody proceedings. In addition, the organization has created programs on child sexual abuse evaluation and treatment, conflict resolution training, and legal rights training. To date, it has represented more than 15,000 children.

Under Ms. Freedmanís leadership, Lawyers For Children filed a class-action lawsuit in 1995 against the New York City Administration for Childrenís Services (ACS) alleging mismanagement and neglect of children under its care. The landmark case was settled in 1998 when city officials agreed to have an outside panel of experts monitor the agency and recommend changes in ACS operations. The settlement also required the state of New York to establish a New York City office to monitor child welfare services.

Freedman holds a bachelorís degree from Wesleyan University and earned a J.D. from New York University School of Law. She lives in Palisades, NY, with her husband Roger Weisberg.

Only individual, living Bowdoin alumni/ae are considered for Common Good awards, and those who have been widely recognized and honored by the college or by other organizations are not generally eligible.

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