Justice Kathleen A. Blatz to Receive NACoA's Ackerman/Black Award

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Former Supreme Court Chief Justice to be Honored for Lifetime Commitment to Healing Children and Families Through Systemic Change

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I am thrilled she will be receiving this award. Having someone of her professional stature carry the message and create institutional change, that reaches children so in need, is a champion!

"Justice Kathleen A. Blatz is an outstanding recipient of this award. Throughout her career -whether as legislator, Chief Justice of the Minnesota Supreme Court, or Vice Chair of the Minnesota Supreme Court Foster Care and Permanency Task Force - her work has impacted thousands of families, especially children. Thus, she has improved the lives of children of all ages, and it doesn't get any better than that," stated Dr. Robert Ackerman, one of the leading pioneers for whom the award has been named.

Sis Wenger, President and CEO of the National Association for Children of Alcoholics (NACoA) will present the annual award at the opening plenary session on Monday, October 10th during the annual conference of NAADAC - The Association of Addiction Professionals, held at the Hyatt Regency Hotel in Minneapolis, MN.

The Ackerman/Black Award was established to honor two leading early pioneers in the fields of addiction and family impact whose lives have been devoted now for over 35 years to identifying and providing teaching and healing support programs that have reached across the globe and in many languages. Dr. Ackerman and Dr. Claudia Black wrote the landmark first books in the 1970s that created the platforms for the years of addressing the needs of the 1 in 4 children living in families suffering from parental alcoholism and other drug dependencies. "To this day, their extraordinary leadership and passionate devotion to healing impacted children and families is mirrored in only a few leaders who have used their own talent, passion, and leadership opportunities to bring healing to so many," said Sis Wenger in announcing the award. "Kathleen Blatz stands out as such a person.”

Dr. Black, for whom the award was also named, said "I am thrilled she will be receiving this award. Having someone of her professional stature carry the message and create institutional change, that reaches children so in need, is a champion!"

In her time as Chief Justice of the Minnesota Supreme Court, Justice Blatz spearheaded the Children’s Justice Initiative to reform the child protection system by improving the handling of child protection cases through a statewide, collaborative effort with the Minnesota Department of Human Services and to move maltreated children into permanent homes faster. It was her vision to become a "model state," so every Minnesota child, regardless of location, has the best possible chance for a safe and permanent home, at the earliest possible time.

After retiring from the Court, Justice Blatz has continued to follow her passion and continues her advocacy work to improve the life trajectory of those countless children who still struggle with overwhelming adverse childhood experiences (ACEs) that can erode their hope and potential.

NAADAC, the Association for Addiction Professionals, represents the professional interests of more than 85,000 addiction counselors, educators and other addiction-focused healthcare professionals in the United States, Canada, and abroad. Its annual conference educates on the latest trends and issues that impact all addiction-focused professionals and provides opportunities to advocate for policy change.

The National Association for Children of Alcoholics—the Voice for the Children—is the oldest national membership and affiliate non-profit organization committed to eliminating the adverse impact of alcohol and drug use on children and families. For 33 years, NACoA has been raising awareness about the issues facing these children by advocating for policy change, advancing prevention services, and training professionals who work with children. Through its programs and services, NACoA brings hope, health and healing to children in need.

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Mary Beth Collins
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