Chesterton Tribune

Judge Harper honored by state law group for work on behalf of youth

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Porter County Circuit Court Judge Mary Harper has received a statewide award that honors leadership in addressing unmet legal needs of children.

The Indiana State Bar Association has selected Harper as this year’s recipient of the Honorable Viola J. Taliaferro Award. Taliaferro, the Monroe County Circuit Court Judge, is recognized nationally as an advocate for children, and the award named in honor is given annually to a person who best exemplifies her efforts on behalf of youth.

Harper was recognized for her service on the Mayor’s Commission Against Domestic Violence, the Porter County Early Intervention Planning Team, and the Porter County Community Corrections Advisory Board, all of which she chairs. She also serves on the Porter County Safe School Commission and the Porter County Juvenile Summit.

Under Harper, Porter County was named one of Indiana’s original three pilot site counties for a new Family Court. Harper also helped developed Porter County’s truancy diversion program known as Project ATTEND, affordable mediation services for low-income families, and a community service access center to link families to court-ordered services immediately following a juvenile court proceeding.

The State Bar Association also noted Harper’s role in obtaining funding for Porter County to implement juvenile mental health diversion programming and for securing Porter County’s participation in the Indiana State Juvenile Mental Health Screening, Assessment and Treatment Pilot Project, of which she serves as advisory board chair.

She also serves on the board of the Indiana Council of Juvenile and Family Court Judges. This year, Gov. Daniels appointed her to the board of the Indiana Criminal Justice Institute. She has been recently named to chair the Youth Division Committee of the Indiana Criminal Justice Institute.

Among her many awards, Harper has been honored with the Aled P. Davies Award for Public Policy on Health and the Marilyn J. Niequist Memorial Award for Outstanding Contributions to Youth. She has also been recognized as Judge of the Year by the Indiana Correctional Association and has received the Robert J. Kinsey Award for her work in judicial service for youth.

Taliaferro, of Bloomington, Ind., has served as a juvenile justice advisor to former U.S. Attorney General Janet Reno and as a member of the National Research Council on Juvenile Crime. She has also been named Judge of the Year by the National Court Appointed Special Advocate Association.



Posted 10/24/2007