Penn’s Field Center Hosts Annual Field of Dreams Luncheon

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Media Contact:Jill DiSanto | jdisanto@upenn.edu | 215-898-4820October 1, 2013

The Field Center for Children’s Policy, Practice & Research at the University of Pennsylvania will host its third annual Field of Dreams Luncheon, Friday, Nov. 1, at the College of Physicians, 19 S. 22nd St., Philadelphia.

The Luncheon celebrates the passion and work of the late Alan Lerner, a former faculty director at the Field Center for Children’s Policy, Practice & Research and a member of the Penn Law School clinical faculty, with two honors in his memory, the Alan Lerner Child Advocacy Award and the Alan Lerner Fellowship in Child Welfare Policy.

The Alan Lerner Child Advocacy Award is bestowed upon a child-welfare professional who best embodies the values and legacy of the teacher, scholar and child advocate that Lerner was.

This year’s recipient will be David Heckler, the Bucks County, Pa., district attorney, for his efforts on behalf of abused and neglected children.

“The selection of D.A. Heckler this year was very clear,” said Debra Schilling Wolfe, executive director of the Field Center. “Under his leadership, the Sandusky tragedy has become a pivotal opportunity for reform, with Pennsylvania on the cusp of unprecedented change in the laws and policies surrounding child abuse reporting and investigation.”

In January 2012, Gov. Tom Corbett appointed Heckler to chair the Pennsylvania Task Force on Child Protection.  The Task Force examined how the commonwealth identifies and investigates cases of child abuse and made recommendations for improvements.

A graduate of Yale University and the University of Virginia School of Law, Heckler served as the assistant district attorney in Bucks County and as an advisor to other district attorneys statewide.  He served 11 years in the Pennsylvania General Assembly as a representative and a senator. A former judge, Heckler was a member of the Pennsylvania Commission on Crime and Delinquency Victim Service Advisory Committee.

The Alan Lerner Fellow in Child Welfare Policy will be awarded to a promising Penn Law student who is committed to child advocacy. The recipient will be announced at the luncheon and will spend the academic year as a member of the Field Center’s team.

The Field Center for Children’s Policy, Practice & Research at Penn is an interdisciplinary collaboration of the schools of Social Policy & Practice, Law, Medicine and Nursing and of the Children’s Hospital of Philadelphia.  The Field Center works to improve the lives of victims of child abuse and neglect by reforming the systems that are responsible for protecting them through innovative and critical change.

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