HARRISBURG (Sept. 8, 2022) — The Pennsylvania Bar Association (PBA) Children’s Rights Committee has named Pittsburgh attorney Thomas C. Welshonce of KidsVoice as its Child Advocate of the Year.
Welshonce will receive the award at a luncheon ceremony during the committee’s Current Issues for Child Advocates Fall Training on Sept. 23 at the Pennsylvania Bar Institute in Mechanicsburg.
The award recognizes the accomplishments of lawyers and judges who are advocates for children within the commonwealth or who are involved with child advocacy.
A long-standing member of the PBA Children’s Rights Committee, Welshonce has conducted the Case Law Roundup for the committee’s annual trainings for several years. In addition, he has authored numerous briefs on significant dependency and termination of parental rights cases with statewide implications, including a case prepared to go before the Pennsylvania Supreme Court.
As a supervisor at KidsVoice, Welshonce and his team assist senior and former dependency clients with legal issues involving magisterial district judge (MDJ) hearings, expungements, housing, and public assistance and Social Security benefits. During the past year, he has helped the Allegheny County Public Defender’s Office and Penn State Dickinson Law Children’s Advocacy Clinic initiate efforts to represent clients in MDJ matters.
Prior to his current role within KidsVoice, Welshonce served as the organization’s staff attorney and provided advocacy for abused and neglected children. He also was a legal training coordinator, helping new and veteran staff members develop child advocacy skills. Before joining KidsVoice, Welshonce practiced corporate law.
Welshonce’s 2021 accomplishments include serving as a key partner in formulating Allegheny County’s plan to utilize federal Consolidated Appropriations Act COVID cash benefits to help nearly 2,000 current and former foster youth garner $2,000 each during the pandemic.
In 2019, Welshonce was instrumental in developing an innovative two-generation project to help current and former expectant or parenting clients keep their children out of the foster care system. Assistance focused on independent living needs, education and employment skills, early childhood development programs, and early intervention and medical supports for children with disabilities or developmental delays.
Welshonce received his B.A. from West Virginia Wesleyan College and his J.D. from University of Pittsburgh School of Law.
To learn more about PBA’s Current Issues for Child Advocates Fall Training, visit https://www.pbi.org/Meetings/Meeting.aspx?ID=42822.