Judge Michael Burns and his Adams County ‘Through the Eyes of the Child Initiative’ team was honored during the Nebraska Children’s Summit in Kearney for their work on establishing The Living Center (TLC), a housing unit for children who have aged-out of the foster care system. The Most Impact Award was presented to Judge Burns by Children’s Commission Chairman Judge Everett Inbody during the opening session on August 27, 2012. The award was a surprise to the team, nine of whom were in attendance at the Children’s Summit.
The award was voted on by those registering to attend the Summit.
In his opening remarks, Judge Inbody stated, “Because the Through the Eyes of the Child Initiative is predicated on teams, it is the team effort that we would like to recognize.”
Judge Burns’ team, located in the Adams County area, secured almost $1 million in grant funding and another $350,000 in process to develop a housing model for former foster youth ages 18-24 who have aged-out of care. An apartment complex in Hastings will be renovated to provide 12 apartments that will house 11 youth and one residential manager, with an anticipated move-in date of September 2013. Judge Burns updated the crowd of 450 participants on the status of the project crediting his team and retired judge, Jack Ott with the origination and progress of the project. He gestured to his team saying, “It has been the effort of this great group of people; they make it work.”
The Children's Summit, held August 27-29, 2012, is a statewide conference sponsored by the Through the Eyes of the Child Initiative and the Nebraska Supreme Court. Attendees spent over two days focusing on improving the welfare of children in the court system. There were 50 judges, 100 attorneys, 100 Health and Human Service System staffers, Court Appointed Special Advocates, probation officers, mental health professionals and others interested in the wellbeing of children in Nebraska who attended the conference.
Judge Burns’ team was awarded a $500 Micro-grant to apply toward a court project of the team’s choice.
Photo: Judge Burns’ Eyes of the Child team: (L to R) RuAnn Root, Sue Rutt, Linda Addison, Sam Zeleski, Lauren Slaughter, Pam Davis, Amy Swayze, Bev Patitz, Judge Mike Burns. Not pictured: Kim Krueger, Donna Fegler-Diass.