Philadelphia Lawyer Named ‘Child Advocate of the Year’

HARRISBURG (April 9, 2014) — The Pennsylvania Bar Association Children’s Rights Committee presented its 2014 Child Advocate of the Year Award to Jennifer Pokempner, supervising attorney at the Juvenile Law Center in Philadelphia.

The award was presented during the committee’s 2014 Child Advocate Training Seminar held April 4 in Mechanicsburg.

The Child Advocate of the Year Award recognizes the accomplishments of lawyers and judges who are advocates for children within the commonwealth or who are involved with child advocacy.

Pokempner has been an attorney for children for more than 12 years. At the Juvenile Law Center, she focuses on issues relating to teenagers and young adults who are in foster care and are transitioning out of the child welfare system. She also works to increase supports available for homeless teenagers.

Pokempner is a co-chair of the Legislative Action Committee of the PBA Children’s Rights Committee. Also active on the national level, Pokempner has developed recommendations and crafted statutory language for the Higher Education Act, federal legislation to improve college access, retention and success for youth in foster care.

She has written extensively about child advocacy, including several articles regarding older youth in care. She has been a presenter on the issue of children’s rights for the PBA and the American Bar Association. She has taught at the University of Pennsylvania and Temple law schools.

In 2012, Pokempner received the Permanency Advocate Recognition Award at the Pennsylvania Permanency Conference, sponsored by the Pennsylvania Department of Public Welfare's Office of Children, Youth and Families; Independent Living Services; and the Statewide Adoption and Permanency Network. Pokempner received the award for her contributions to promoting permanency for children with special needs and accomplishments in helping waiting foster children find permanency.

Prior to joining the Juvenile Law Center, Pokempner worked with children at the Harlem Park Middle in Baltimore and for organizations such as Teach Baltimore.

She holds degrees from Johns Hopkins University and the University of Pennsylvania Law School. Prior to attending law school, Pokempner worked as a paralegal in the Child Advocacy Unit at the Legal Aid Bureau in Baltimore City.

Founded in 1895, the Pennsylvania Bar Association strives to promote justice, professional excellence and respect for the law; improve public understanding of the legal system; facilitate access to legal services; and serve the 27,000 lawyers who are members of the association.