December 30, 2020

Howard Davidson

Howard Davidson, founding director, retired in July 2015 after 36 years leading the Center. As the Center’s Director, Howard made sure the Center, and the American Bar Association, was at the forefront of children and the law issues. His work was guided by two goals:

  • improving lawyering in proceedings related to children and families so they have meaningful experiences in court; and

  • working with the Center’s expert staff to make positive, visible impacts on child welfare system improvement.

After working as a lawyer for youth in child protection, status offender, and delinquency cases in Boston, and as a Judge Advocate General in the U.S. Army, Howard transitioned to his position at the Center. The move allowed him to use his skills to enhance children’s law, policy, and practice at the national level.

Howard was passionate about identifying issues raised by new federal laws and emerging child protection developments. Showing how practitioners and advocates can use these developments to improve the lives of children and families involved in the courts was a hallmark of his work.

As the Center’s leader, spokesperson, and cheerleader, Howard coauthored several amicus briefs for U.S. Supreme Court cases related to child welfare. He also wrote on children’s law, producing and co-editing a book on the legal rights of children and compiling the first manual for judges on handling child abuse and neglect cases.

In addition to serving on several boards, including a founding board member of the National Center for Missing and Exploited Children, Howard traveled far and wide to present at conferences and trainings. He visited six continents, and most of the states, on behalf of the Center. His favorite international experience was the planning of and participation in two conferences in China for attorneys interested in protecting children’s legal rights.

Outside the Center, Howard could be found heading to the theater for a show or catching an art house film or independent movie. His passion for ethnic food kept him exploring DC’s eclectic food scene and freely sharing his latest finds. He was the proud father of two daughters and a son, as well as a recent grandfather.