Family Defense Center Executive Director, Diane Redleaf, received the prestigious Chicago Bar Association Alliance for Women’s Founders Award on May 15, 2014. Below is friend and colleague Laurene Heybach’s introduction from the award’s ceremony, which eloquently articulates Diane’s myriad accomplishments in her fight to advocate justice for families in the child welfare system.
Introducing Diane L. Redleaf, 2014 Alliance For Women Founders’ Award Winner
By Laurene (Rene) Heybach, Director of the Law Project for the Chicago Coalition for the Homeless
It is wonderful, as a feminist and a lawyer, to be here today. I have the good fortune to introduce my good friend and mentor, the remarkable Diane Redleaf. Let me tell you about her.
Born in New York City, reared in Minnesota, a graduate magna cum laude of Carleton College, Diane earned her J.D. from Stanford Law School in 1979. She started her career at the Legal Assistance Foundation of Chicago (now LAF) where she remained for 16 years as part of first its Women’s Law Project and later the founder of its Children’s Rights Project.
I knew of Diane before we met. In the mid ‘80’s, I was litigating to improve conditions in Florida’s detention facilities for children. One of my colleagues drew my attention to a most remarkable complaint filed in Cook County Circuit Court. Entitled G.S. v. Goodman, the case was a class action lawsuit against Cook County seeking broad injunctive relief to overhaul the manner in which children in the juvenile court here were provided legal guardians and legal representation.