Nominations sought for Daniel J. Wright Award

Honor recognizes outstanding work in support of Michigan families, children

Nominations are now open for the Daniel J. Wright Lifetime Achievement Award to honor exceptional service to Michigan’s children. Jointly sponsored by the Michigan Supreme Court and Michigan Department of Health and Human Services, the award is presented each year in conjunction with efforts to encourage and celebrate adoption.  As part of its  November Adoption Month initiative, the Supreme Court is urging courts statewide to raise awareness of the need for loving parents to adopt children from foster care.

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 keeping children in foster care.  

“Dan worked tirelessly on behalf of legislation to afford foster children a greater voice in decisionsaffecting their own lives,” said Michigan Supreme Court Chief Justice Stephen J. Markman.  “He dedicated himself to connectingfoster children with adoptive ‘forever families.’” 

Nominations are open to attorneys, judges, caseworkers, court employees, employees of public and private agencies, employees and members of nonprofits, and others who have a significant 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 a record of achievements with demonstrable impact.

Previous recipients include the late Daniel J. Wright; former director of the Office of Child Support within the Michigan Department of Human Services Marilyn Stephen; Crawford County Court Administrator Thomas Haskel; Midland County Probate Court Judge Dorene Allen; former director of the Michigan Department of Human Services and former Michigan Supreme Court Chief Justice Maura Corrigan; Calhoun County Friend of the Court Jeffrey Albaugh; former executive director of the Children’s Services Agency within the Michigan Department of Health and Human Services Steve Yager; and Genesee County Circuit Court Judge Duncan Beagle.

To nominate a candidate for the Wright Award, complete a nomination form, available online at
and return it by Oct. 6. The Wright Award recipient will be honored with a special presentation at the 2017 Michigan Adoption Day event at the Michigan Hall of Justice on November 21.

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