Child Advocate for the Commonwealth of Massachusetts
Hon. Gail Garinger (ret.) was named as the Child Advocate for the Commonwealth of Massachusetts in late April 2008 by Governor Deval Patrick. She directs the Massachusetts Office of the Child Advocate focusing on improving services to children served by the Commonwealth’s child welfare and juvenile justice systems. Before that she served as a Juvenile Court judge in Massachusetts for 13 years, the last seven of which as First Justice for Middlesex County. Prior to her appointment to the bench, Judge Garinger was in private practice, specializing in children’s health and welfare law, was general counsel at Children’s Hospital Boston and directed an NIMH-funded child abuse and neglect research project at the Judge Baker Guidance Center. She has served on several Supreme Judicial Court committees, including the commission on juvenile justice, the judiciary and the media committee, and the judicial evaluation committee. Judge Garinger currently serves on the Special Commission to Study the Commonwealth’s Criminal Justice System as the designated member with experience in juvenile justice. Recently she was appointed to the Court Management Advisory Board as the member with significant experience in juvenile matters. She has written on a variety of children’s health and welfare topics and is a frequent speaker, panelist, and guest lecturer. She is a graduate of Harvard Law School and Indiana University, and received an Honorary Doctor of Humane Letters degree from Western New England College. She is married to Henry Dinger and the mother of three young adults.
Founder and Executive Director of the W. Haywood Burns Institute
James Bell is the Founder and Executive Director of the W. Haywood Burns Institute. Since 2001, Mr. Bell has been spearheading a national movement to address racial and ethnic disparities in the juvenile justice system. The BI, which is named after civil rights pioneer W. Haywood Burns, was recently awarded the prestigious MacArthur Award for Creative and Effective Institutions. The award is presented to select organizations worldwide that have made a “remarkable impact in their fields.”