Director of Youth Programs Receives Lewis Hine Award for Service to Children and Youth

On January 19, 2011, Joseph McLaughlin, CASES’ Director of Youth Programs, was selected by the National Child Labor Committee (NCLC) as a recipient of the prestigious Lewis Hine Award for Service to Children and Youth. These awards recognize professionals and volunteers from all walks of life who have dedicated themselves to the health, education, and well-being of young people.

The award acknowledges Mr. McLaughlin’s commitment to improving outcomes for disadvantaged youth over the past twenty years. Under Mr. McLaughlin’s leadership, CASES has developed an array of innovative alternative-to-incarceration programming for youth, including the nationally recognized Career Exploration Project, evidence-based substance abuse counseling, art therapy services, and on-site GED testing. CASES’ CEO Joel Copperman credits Mr. McLaughlin’s willingness to test new approaches for the breadth of services the organization offers today, and their effectiveness in helping court-involved youth turn their lives around.

When reflecting on his accomplishments, Mr. McLaughlin highlights the support he has received at CASES throughout his career, saying “When I began working as a planner for the Community Service Sentencing Project (CSSP) at the Vera Institute of Justice in 1989, I was very interested in juvenile justice issues. When the project was later spun off from Vera and merged with CEP to form CASES, I was given the opportunity to work with young people in CEP. The timing was ideal—I was very interested in program development. CEP did not have all of the services we have today, and Joel was very supportive of our program development efforts. Our art therapy services are a great example—they started with a request from the School for Visual Arts to provide an internship site for a graduate student. Seeing the participants’ response to the art therapy groups and individual sessions, we raised some money to hire the intern when she graduated from SVA. Today art therapy is an integral part of youth programs—we have a full-time art therapist on staff and offer a range of services that include open art studio, one-on-one counseling, and mental health groups that use photography, videography and animation to engage young people. I am deeply grateful for all of the opportunities afforded me at CASES and the privilege of working with so many talented and committed staff.”

In receiving the Lewis Hine Award, Mr. McLaughlin joins over 200 distinguished past recipients, some of whom Mr. McLaughlin considers himself fortunate to have known personally, such as Howard Knoll, the Chair of the Board of the National Youth Employment Coalition, and the late Mike Buzbee, Executive Director of Gulf Coast Trades Center. Other past recipients include James Piper Bond, whose work at the Living Classrooms Foundation in Baltimore Mr. McLaughlin has long admired.

However, Mr. McLaughlin is also quick to point out that the award reflects the talents of his dedicated staff. CASES youth programs continually demonstrate that court-involved youth can succeed when given a second chance: the two-year recidivism rates for CEP graduates—those charged with the most serious crimes among CASES youth participants—is consistently below twenty percent.

For more information, view the NCLC’s 2011 Lewis Hine Awards press release [1].