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Keeping children out of court
Author: Kathryn Kirkland
Posted: October 6, 2006

child care facilities at Multnomah County CourthouseNO CHILD SHOULD witness parent-to-parent accusations in a courtroom, and no judge should have to put up with courtroom disruption caused by upset children. That's why a free day care program was started in the Multnomah County Courthouse almost five years ago.

Multnomah CourtCare can trace its beginnings to a 1997 study conducted by Bob Shotola, then professor of sociology (now retired), and his students at the request of the Multnomah Bar Association. The study found that an average of 80 children under the age of 13 were in the courthouse every day.

With the study in hand, a few dedicated volunteers secured funding and a home for CourtCare in a little-used jury room. Since that day, the child care center has provided free, drop-in care to 5,000 children ranging in age from six weeks to five years.

A fund-raising campaign is held each year for the program. The most recent campaign was co-chaired by Portland lawyer Susan Marmaduke '74.