Deputy Director of the Children’s Law Center (CLC), Randa Hojaiban MSW ’03, JD ’04 was awarded the prestigious President’s Award from the Greater New Britain Bar Association on May 1, 2013. She received the award for her work serving impoverished children in the New Britain family courts. Randa provides legal representation to low-income children who are caught in their parents’ family court disputes. She said it’s never easy to balance the social work and legal aspects of her job. It’s her role to both make sure that a child gets the counseling needed while at the same time following the parents’ divorce proceedings and representing the child in a legal setting.
Hojaiban also mediates in the CLC’s Families in Transition program, which provides low-income families with counseling on custody issues. Teams of attorneys and mental health professionals meet with families who can’t afford to battle it out in family court. The program has the added benefit of being less stressful than a courtroom encounter. The social worker in Hojaiban likes this type of approach, as it gives families more control over their destiny. “Breakups are hard enough without involving kids,” she said. “When you can get the parents through that tough period and get them to raise their kids together, those are the most rewarding cases for me.”
The cases Hojaiban works on deal mostly with children affected by child abuse, domestic violence, neglect, mental illness, substance abuse or chronic conflict. “I feel very lucky to have found the Children’s Law Center, to have had the opportunity to be a part of its growth, and to be a part of such a collaborative court. It’s not such an easy find!”