North Carolina Newspapers is powered by Chronam.
Children's Law Center celebrates
10 years of legal advocacy
Its lawyers are voices of
children in domestic
BY TODD LUCK
For the last 10 years, the Children's
Law Center (CLC) has been legally advo
cating for children. CLC provides a voice
for vulnerable children in court cases such
as domestic violence cases, high conflict
custody cases and children with education
For its 10th anniversary celebration on
Thursday, Sept. 17, the nonprofit held a
public lecture at the Old Salem Visitor
Center with best-selling author and advo
cate Brian Martin and put on a fundraiser
that night at Rooftop Terrace.
In domestic violence cases, CLC
lawyers are appointed by a judge to be
Guardians ad Litem, acting as the eyes and
ears of the court in regard to children when
a protective order has been filed. They'll
investigate the case, including interview
ing the parents and children involved and
doing research into how the child is doing
in school. They then provide the court with
recommendations, which may include cus
tody arrangements and counseling.
Because of CLC's limited resources, usu
ally only the most egregious cases are
referred to them.
Martin, who grew up in a home with
domestic violence and now works to help
children in that same situation, said there
are few nonprofits like CLC.
"I think the work that they're doing the
Children's Law Center is very unique. I
have not come upon it in many communi
ties," he said. "And the fact that they're
approaching this from the standpoint of
what happens when someone grows up in
domestic violence is very forward-think
ing, really very pioneering."
Martin is the author of "Invincible -
The 10 Lies You Learn Growing Up with
Domestic Violence, and the Truths to Set
You Free" and founder of New York-based
Children of Domestic Violence.
He said children living with childhood
domestic violence, in which children wit
ness domestic violence but aren't necessar
ily abused themselves, can have a lifetime
of negative effects, including being more
likely to become an abuser as an adult. He
said growing up in that environment can
hardwire the developing brain in a bad
way that can requires help to overcome.
CLC Executive Director Iris Sunshine
said CLC has had 900 cases over the last
She estimated CLC will serve 250 chil
dren in 200 cases this year alone. The non
profit has four lawyers, including
Sunshine herself, who also handles cases.
It also has a multitude of lawyers from law
firms like Kilpatrick Townsend &
Stockton who do pro bono work for it.
She said CLC's work is important
because domestic violence has such a pro
found effect on children that it's similar to
the Post Traumatic Stress Syndrome that
soldiers face, and increases their chance
for teen pregnancy, suicide and other neg
"What these children experience, what
they live through, will stay with them for
the rest of the their life," said Sunshine.
Attorneys Penny Spry and Amy
Kuhlman founded CLC 10 years ago as a
solution to a problem. The duo was volun
teering with Winston-Salem Legal Aid to
represent children in high conflict custody
battles and domestic violence situations.
The two found there was a conflict of
interest in representing children in the
same cases where Legal Aid was repre
senting one of the parents. They decided to
create their own nonprofit to represent
children. They had lots of community sup
port with donations of money, pro bono
hours and even office space to help make
the fledgling firm work.
"We didn't have a 10-year plan; we
were day to day, month to month," said
Spry and Kuhlman said they were glad
to see CLC going strong 10 years later.
Kuhlman said the mission of CLC remains
"When we work with children, our
hope is to someday make them healthy
adults so that it doesn't perpetuate from
generation to generation," she said.
One place- CLC gets help from is law
students in the Child Advocacy Clinic at
Wake Forest Law. The students in the class
work on actual cases that have been
referred to CLC. To help prepare them to
work on domestic violence cases, CLC has
the father/son duo of Scotty and Shiloh
Daum speak to them. Scotty Daum bring
ing a unique perspective to the course,
having formerly been a perpetrator of
domestic violence. He said he used to try
to bully and intimidate in his home and
would try to game the police and the sys
tem to get away with it.
"They're not going to stop doing what
they're doing on their own," said Scotty
Daum about domestic abusers.
He said it took a series of interventions
over the years to get him to change, includ
ing what he described as "a very brave
act" from Shiloh, then only 13 years old, to
call the police to get him to stop. Since
then, he's gotten the help he needs and said
he is very grateful to his children for giv
ing him a second chance.
Shiloh Daum, who is now an eminent
domain attorney who volunteers as a
Guardian ad Litem, said that there is much
more awareness of domestic violence now
than when he grew up and the legal system
takes it more seriously and is better
equipped to deal with it.
"This is a contagious illness such as it
is, that's inherited. We get it from our par
ents," he said about domestic violence.
"It's taught to us, these behavioral pat
terns, these cycles, and it can be taught out
of us, but there has to be an intervention."
Spring Lake mayor gets into U.S. Senate race to challenge Burr
BY GARY D. ROBERTSON
RALEIGH, N.C. ? The mayor of a small North
Carolina town near Fort Bragg is running next
year for the U.S. Senate seat currently held by
Republican Richard Burr.
Spring Lake Mayor Chris Rey unveiled his
candidacy Monday, Sept. 21, with website and
Facebook postings. Rey's decision marks the
first Democrat to announce among a handful of
current or former elected officials looking at a
The 38-year-old is a National Guard officer previously
on active duty in the Army and has served in Iraq and
Rey says if elected he would work to fully implement
health care reform, lower the small business tax rate and
promote public education and veterans' assistance.
Any primary elections appear slated for mid-March.
Republicans in the legislature want to
move me primaries up rrom May.
Rey distributed an email seeking
donations as he announced his bid on
He has visited Winston-Salem in an
effort to gain support for a run for higher
office. A reception was held at The
Enterprise Banquet and Conference
Center for him in April, sponsored by the Friends of Chris
Rey. No one specified a higher office at that time.
Chronicle Managing Editor Donna Rogers contributed
to this report.
Mk kc mmm
Clean. Safe. Secure.
Closing coal ash basins in the Carolinas.
Across the Carolinas, we're making significant progress to clean up and
permanently close all our coal ash basins. We've partnered with some of the
nation's top scientists and engineers to develop smart, effective ways to safely
close basins and protect our communities' natural resources. We're setting a
new standard in leading the Carolinas to a safer, cleaner energy future.
We recycle nearly half of the coal ash
produced by our company today and are
looking for new ways to safely reuse even
more of this valuable construction material M
X? ENERGY. www.duke-energy.com/SafeBasinClosure v l4 Ujj &
Message paid for by Duke Energy shareholders..