Name Change Reflects Growing Role of Center on Children and Families

Published: March 22nd, 2004

Category: News

The Levin College of Law Center on Children and the Law has added “Families” to its name to reflect its growing role in restructuring the family law curriculum and in statewide family court reforms. The new name — the Center on Children and Families (CCF) — also recognizes the center’s role in supporting UF’s Family Law Certificate Program and the crucial role of families in the well-being of children.

Associate Directors Nancy Dowd and Iris Burke have joined founding director Barbara Bennett Woodhouse as center co-directors. (Go to edu/publications/pdf/CCFBooklet.pdf to view the new Center on Children and Families booklet, at left, in pdf format.)

“In its first three years, the center has grown and matured, playing a central role in restructuring the family law curriculum and in statewide family court reforms. While we continue to approach these issues from a consciously child-centered perspective, it was important to me and our associate directors to recognize within our organizational structure the crucial roles of family studies in our work and of hands-on learning in our teaching,” said CCF Director and David H. Levin Chair in Family Law Barbara Bennett Woodhouse.

“Professor Dowd is the leading scholar nationally on single parenting and work/family issues, and Professor Burke is a gifted clinical teacher whose commitment to increasing poor families’ access to justice produced the innovative Pro Se/Unbundling Clinic,” Woodhouse added. “We are incredibly lucky to have these and so many other prominent experts in juvenile law, constitutional law, mediation and human rights among our CCF faculty. It was UF’s amazing faculty that brought me here from the University of Pennsylvania and I believe the quality and diversity of our faculty is unmatched anywhere in the country.”

Iris Burke said, “Strengthening families, in all their diverse forms, benefits children. Explicitly including ‘families’ in the center’s name highlights the close collaboration between the center’s faculty who specialize in children’s law and those who specialize in family law. Similarly, the new co-director structure formalizes the close collaboration between the center’s skills faculty and its substantive law faculty. The seamless education that is possible because of this close collaboration is one of the exciting strengths of the center and its certificate program.”

According to Chesterfield Smith Professor Nancy E. Dowd, “The recruitment of Barbara Bennett Woodhouse, the most prominent children’s rights scholar domestically and internationally, was the impetus for the establishment of the center, and her particular expertise made it natural to call this new center the Center for Children and the Law, a multidisciplinary, child-centered, collaborative center for family law. It has always, however, been a center that focuses on families and their well-being. The change in name does not then represent a change in focus, but rather a better description of what the center does.

“Professor Woodhouse galvanized existing faculty and has continued to draw partners within the law school and across campus, as well as across the nation and internationally. The growth of the center has been geometric, with exciting projects in advocacy, teaching and research. The change in the center’s name reflects a transition from the founding stage to continued growth under Professor Woodhouse’s extraordinary leadership. It also is a tribute to her collaborative process, as well as to the incredible growth of the center. At this stage, it represents a step towards deepening and continuing the great work that the center has already accomplished in its short life.

“I am personally honored and privileged to serve as a co-director with two faculty whose character, scholarship and service to children and families is so extraordinary. Professor Woodhouse, as I noted above, brought enormous strength and energy to this faculty. Professor Iris Burke, who has been at the College of Law longer than either Professor Woodhouse or myself, has trained countless outstanding lawyers in our clinical program, and represents the cutting edge, critical work of the center in training the family lawyers of tomorrow.”

The center is co-hosting with the Center for the Study of Race and Race Relations and UF’s ICARE and College of Education March 25-27 the national conference, “Beyond Brown: Children, Race and Education.” (Details available at:

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