National Center for Youth Law

Pioneering Child Advocate Bill Grimm Receives Prestigious Mark Hardin Award

Bill Grimm, Senior Directing Attorney at the National Center for Youth Law, has been awarded the esteemed Mark Hardin Award by the American Bar Association’s Center on Children and the Law, an honor given to attorney advocates that have a significant record of systems change and legal scholarship.

Grimm’s 40-year career exemplifies the essence of the Mark Hardin award. His tireless efforts have reformed child welfare systems through litigation and legislative advocacy in Utah, Washington, Arkansas, Nevada, and California, creating critical protections for children. Most recently, Grimm has become a national leading advocate in the effort to ensure children in foster care are safely prescribed psychotropic medications and protect them from the harmful effects of overmedication.

“Mark Hardin was a friend and colleague of mine so I witnessed first-hand his commitment and passion for children and families. His leadership and innovative theories changed child welfare law in incalculable ways to the great benefit of children across this country. To be selected to receive this award in his honor is an unimaginable privilege,” Bill Grimm said.

Grimm not only transformed child welfare systems in states across the nation, he has also mentored and inspired a generation of talented attorneys, as one nominator said, “As head of the Child Advocacy Unit at Legal Aid in Baltimore, Bill mentored a couple dozen young attorneys. We learned from Bill how to be fearless but reasonable and respectful advocates; how to move from individual cases to systemic issues and back again from systemic reforms to individual cases. Above all, we learned how to respect the opinions and views of our young clients, to understand how bureaucracies and even courts overlooked their needs and opinions for the sake of convenience, deference to authority, and mindless cost-saving, and to learn how to litigate effectively to become persuasive and successful advocates for kids. To the extent we made a difference, we owe it to Bill’s leadership, inspiration, vision, and thoughtfulness.”

“I am delighted Bill has been granted this prestigious honor; I know of no one more deserving. As a compassionate and humble leader and a true champion of children he embodies of the spirit of the Mark Hardin Award. The legacy and impact of Bill’s career and influence are immeasurable,” commented Jesse Hahnel, Executive Director at the National Center for Youth Law.

The Mark Hardin Award will be presented to Grimm on April 10, 2019 at the annual ABA Center on Children and the Law Conference in Tysons Corner, Virginia.

Read the letters in support of Grimm’s nomination: