Nominations sought for state award

Nominations are open for the Daniel J. Wright Lifetime Achievement Award, jointly sponsored by the Michigan Supreme Court and Michigan Department of Human Services, to honor exceptional service to children across the state.

The award was established in honor of the late Daniel J. Wright of Grand Ledge, an attorney and longtime leader in child support and child welfare reform.

He was credited with the “Michigan Miracle” in 2002 when, as special assistant to then-Chief Justice Maura D. Corrigan, he led the state’s efforts to upgrade Michigan’s child support enforcement system by federally mandated deadlines.

By meeting the deadlines, Wright saved the state $142 million in federal fines and earned the state a $36 million refund for fines it had already paid.

Later, as director of the Friend of the Court Bureau and Child Welfare Services divisions of the State Court Administrative Office, Wright helped create the state’s “Adoption Forums” to deal with adoption barriers that were stranding children in foster care.

He worked on legislation to give foster children a greater voice in decisions about their lives; among other things, the law now requires courts to consult the child’s wishes when holding a hearing about placing the child in a permanent home.

Nominations are open to attorneys, judges, caseworkers, court employees, employees of public and private agencies, employees and members of non-profits, and others who have a record of helping Michigan families and children.

To be eligible, a nominee must have 10 years or more experience in his or her field and must have a record of achievements with demonstrable impact.

A nomination form can be obtained on the courts’ website,

A nominating form can be obtained from the court’s website: The deadline is Sept. 27. The recipient will be honored at the 2013 Michigan Adoption Day event at the Michigan Hall of Justice on Nov. 26.