Multnomah CourtCare

DONATE to CourtCare

Multnomah CourtCare is a project of the Multnomah Bar Foundation which improves access to justice by making free, drop-in childcare available at the Downtown Multnomah County Courthouse for families with business at the court. CourtCare is operated by Volunteers of America Oregon and serves 80 to 100 children and their families each month. 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.

The MBF is pleased to announce that the CourtCare program is expanding to the East County Courthouse.

While the program receives some public funding, it depends primarily on the financial support of the legal community, which contributes through the Multnomah Bar Foundation. The Foundation is tax exempt under section 501(c)(3), and contributions are tax deductible.

CourtCare Fundraising Campaign

The 2014 CourtCare Campaign runs May 5th through May 23rd with a goal of raising over $75,000. You can make a donation online or print out a CourtCare Donation Card and mail it with your contribution. You can also call the MBA at 503.222.3275 if you would like to use a credit card over the phone.

The campaign chair for 2014 is Amy Angel of Barran Liebman.

We encourage all MBA Members to donate to the Multnomah Bar Foundation - "CourtCare". Every dollar helps, and we very much appreciate contributions of any size.

The History of Multnomah 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 Quick Facts and Comments

 

  • Between December of 2001 and May of 2014, CourtCare has served over 12,000 children.
  • "I definitely will tell people about your room, it's a great place, and I love that you are right here in the courthouse."
  • The average length of stay per visit is between 1 and 2 hours.
  • Q: Did you have any other options for childcare today? A: "I didn't know what to do and then my lawyer told me you could help me. This sure made things easier today."

 

CourtCare Remodel

In 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.

CourtCare in the News

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