"I am so glad that the Judge told me to bring the kids down here when things went kind of crazy in the courtroom. I didn't know this room was here, but this is such a great place, and also the kids didn't have to hear anymore of what was going on with me and their Dad upstairs. When I came back, it was such a relief to find them so happy and playing with the other kids. They were also very excited to tell me all about the snacks they had, and they love the books that they got to take home...so special." -Parent feedback
Comments from kids in CourtCare:
"This is my best place to go. I like you give me Play-Doh and play with me
to make things."
"I love all your cows and you always give me
Goldfish and oranges. I wish we had oranges at home."
"I want you to read me a book and I can play with
your legos when you read, and I can take a book with me to my house."
Please Consider Making a Charitable Donation to CourtCare
Parents who have business at the court, but no childcare options, may bring their children, ages six weeks to ten years, to CourtCare and be assured their children will be safe and well-cared for while they attend to court matters. This unique, free childcare program in the downtown and East County courthouses has served over 14,750 children since it opened in December 2001. Your donation will help CourtCare continue to make a positive difference:
- in the lives of the children who are welcomed into a cheerful place where they are sheltered from adult issues in court;
- in the lives of these children's parents, who know that their children have a safe place to stay, free-of-charge, while the parents conduct court business;
- and in the administration of justice, because courts operate more efficiently without the interruptions created by having children in the courtrooms and hallways.
Although CourtCare receives some public funding, the program depends primarily on financial donations from our legal community, including individual attorneys, legal assistants, judges and law firms. Our goal for this year's campaign is to raise $100,000 for operations. Donations are accepted all year long, every dollar helps, and we appreciate contributions of any size. You can make an online tax-deductible charitable donation here, call the MBA at 503.222.3275 with a credit card or print the CourtCare Donor Form and send it with your contribution. Please make checks payable to the Multnomah Bar Foundation with "CourtCare" noted in the memo.
Thank you for your support!
CourtCare Featured on Community Hotline Program
Multnomah CourtCare was featured on a recent segment of MetroEast Community Media's Community Hotline. MBF President Dana Scheele and Volunteers of America Program Director Michelle Ward are interviewed. Watch here.
Multnomah CourtCare Open at East County Courthouse
The MBF celebrated the grand opening of the CourtCare room in the East County Courthouse with a ribbon-cutting ceremony, featuring remarks from Presiding Judge Nan Waller, Commissioner Diane McKeel and Gresham Area Chamber of Commerce CEO Lynn Snodgrass. Multnomah County article.
Above - Hon. Nan Waller and Rose Kott, age 7, prepared to cut the ribbon, officially opening the East County CourtCare room.
East County CourtCare hours: Monday, 8:30-5 and Tuesday, 1-5. This schedule coincides with the court's regular docket for FAPA hearings and family law matters.
About Multnomah CourtCare
Multnomah CourtCare is a project of the Multnomah Bar Foundation (MBF) that improves access to justice by making free, drop-in childcare available for families who have business at the court. The program is located at the downtown Multnomah County Courthouse and the East County Courthouse.
CourtCare is operated by Volunteers of America Oregon and serves 80 to 100 children and their families each month, serving over 13,000 since opening in December 2001. In addition to being a safe, convenient location for parents to leave their children, this program reduces the number of rescheduled court appointments and removes the potential that children might witness conflicts or disrupt court business. While the program receives some public funding, it depends primarily on the financial support of the legal community, which contributes through the MBF. The MBF is tax exempt under section 501(c)(3), and contributions are tax deductible.
The History of CourtCare
In 1995, the MBA Court Liaison Committee asked Judge Janice Wilson and attorney Gerri Sue Lent to co-chair a task force charged with exploring the need for childcare at the Multnomah County Courthouse. Two years later, students from Portland State University's Department of Sociology interviewed and surveyed attorneys, judges and courthouse staff, whose anecdotes highlighted the need for onsite childcare in the courthouse.
The MBA formed the Multnomah CourtCare Advisory Board to explore the cost and feasibility of the project. Under the leadership of then-Presiding Judge James Ellis, the judges of the Multnomah Circuit Court determined that room 214, an infrequently-used jury room, would be made available as a drop-in childcare center. State childcare licensing staff approved and then-Multnomah County Chair Beverly Stein proposed the use of the county's contracting authority for an agreement with a provider of childcare services, included the cost of renovations in her capital project budget and offered the county's financial partnership - contingent upon commitment of a matching amount from the State of Oregon - in supporting the center's operating costs.
Volunteers of America Oregon, a respected and experienced local provider of family services, responded to the Request for Proposals to operate the center and was awarded the contract. The MBA pledged to make substantial contributions and also offered to assist in raising the additional funds necessary to enable CourtCare's doors to open in late 2001.
CourtCare RemodelIn the spring of 2011 the Markowitz, Herbold, Glade & Mehlhaf law firm organized a remodel of the CourtCare space in the Multnomah County Courthouse. Mary Rower, a paralegal at the firm led the project that transformed the room to allow for more efficient use of the space.