Berks County Attorney Ann Marie Cucinotta Named Child Advocate of the Year by Pennsylvania Bar Association

HARRISBURG, Pa. (April 18, 2024) — The Pennsylvania Bar Association (PBA) Children’s Rights Committee has named Berks County attorney Ann Marie Cucinotta, juvenile court hearing officer, Berks County Office of Court Administration, Reading, as its Child Advocate of the Year.

Cucinotta will receive the award at a luncheon ceremony during the committee’s Current Issues for Child Advocates training on April 26 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.

For more than 30 years, Cucinotta has worked to defend the rights of children. Beginning her legal career in the Berks County Public Defender’s Office, she later assumed the role of Berks County assistant solicitor and worked closely with Children and Youth Services. In 2002, she became a juvenile court hearing officer and has helped expand that role for 22 years.

In her role, Cucinotta frequently leads local children’s roundtable sub-committees and has been active in several statewide workgroups with the Office of Children and Families in the Court, including the Father Engagement Workgroup. She helped plan and facilitate the 2022 and 2024 Child Dependency Summit, which provided training for judges, hearing officers, solicitors, guardians ad litem and other dependency professionals.

Within her community, Cucinotta previously has been involved with the Court Appointed Special Advocates, Junior League of Reading, Law Foundation of Berks County, Muhlenberg Community Library, Women’s Club of Muhlenberg and her local public and Catholic elementary schools’ parent-teacher organizations. She is a volunteer at her church and helps organize donations for LIFE House, an organization that provides emergency resources for families in crisis.

One of her nominator’s said: “She has been a true servant leader who gives her ALL for the children in her community and who has dedicated decades of her life advocating for their needs and their best interests. She not only does difficult work with excellence, but she also trains others to do the work and she has inspired a younger generation to notice, to advocate and to care for these children.”

Cucinotta earned her Juris Doctor from Dickinson School of Law and her bachelor’s degree from Dickinson College.