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Press Release
County of Orange Seal Children & Family Commission Logo CONTACTS: James Lee
The Lee Strategy Group
(ph) 310-229-5771
(fax) 310-229-5772
Email: jlee@leestrategy.com

Kelly Pijl
Children and Families Commission
(ph) 714-834-5186
(cell) 714-390-9567
Email: kelly.pijl@ocgov.com

For Immediate Release
April 09, 2003
Orange County Child Abuse Prevention Efforts Recognized With National Award Given to Children and Families Commission Member Larry Leaman
Only One Individual From Each State Chosen for Annual Award by Administration on Children, Youth and Families

IRVINE, CA - (April 9, 2003) - Selected in recognition of his efforts for the prevention of child abuse and neglect, Larry Leaman, a member of the Children and Families Commission of Orange County and former director of the Orange County Social Services Agency, was awarded the 2003 Commissioner's Award from the Administration on Children, Youth and Families (ACYF) joining a select group of individuals in receiving national recognition in this important area.

"I am honored for the recognition of the important work we are doing in preventing children from becoming victims from abuse and neglect," Leaman said. "The work ahead remains substantial for parents, caregivers, educators and healthcare providers alike and I am grateful for the opportunity to work with my fellow Commissioners in helping to bring focus to our efforts in identifying and preventing child abuse and neglect."

The award, presented by the ACYF, a department in the U.S. Department of Health and Human Services, is given to a single individual from each state and U.S. territory in recognition of their efforts to combat child abuse and neglect. Leaman was presented the award for his past work at the Orange County Social Services Agency at ceremonies during the 14th National Conference on Child Abuse and Neglect in St. Louis, Missouri.

"This is a tremendous honor that speaks highly of Larry's tireless efforts and hard work in this area," said Crystal Kochendorfer, chair of Children and Families Commission of Orange County. "We are pleased that his accomplishments are being recognized on a national stage and grateful for the insights and counsel he has provided the Commission in our ongoing efforts to tackles these problems here at home."

As part of the Children and Families Commission of Orange County, Leaman has worked with his fellow commissioners to develop and support a broad range of programs dealing with pediatric health, safety and injury prevention, including the Commission's Injury Prevention Initiative, which focuses on developing programs and strategies aimed at reducing and eliminating injuries to children. These can range from accidents in cars and at home to neglect and abuse from caregivers.

According to recent statistics, nearly 26,000 child abuse and neglect cases were reported in Orange County alone in 2002. Instances of abuse and neglect can range from physical violence and emotional abuse to malnourishment and lack of adult supervision in potentially hazardous situations. Studies have shown that child abuse accounts for more fatalities than accidental falls, choking on food, suffocation or fires in the home with head trauma the leading cause of death among babies, including those injured from shaken baby syndrome.

Leaman was first appointed to the Commission in 1999 and also served as the interim director of the Orange County Health Care Agency. His 20-plus years of service to County has involved almost every aspect of social services. Leaman also has served on the board of directors for the Southern California Counties Regional Child Welfare Training and Education Center, the County Welfare Directors Association, and the State of California Child Welfare Budgeting and Caseload Advisory Group.

Leaman was the founding President of the Southern Area Consortium of Human Services (SACHS), a multi-county research, advocacy and collaborative organization. Leaman has previously testified before both the California Legislature and Congress on key issues such as refugee program funding, welfare dependency, child welfare, in-home supportive services, and immigration.

He received is masters in business administration from California State University, Fullerton.

The Children and Families Commission of Orange County was created as a result of Proposition 10, the California Children and Families Act of 1998. The proposition added a 50-cent sales tax on tobacco products sold in California and requires that funds raised be used to support education, health and childcare programs promoting healthy early childhood development from the prenatal stage to age five. The Children and Families Commission of Orange County is responsible for overseeing the allocation of tobacco tax revenues received annually from the State Commission. For more information, please see the Commission's website at www.occhildrenandfamilies.com.