for Her Work in Child Welfare Advocacy
University of Minnesota Duluth (UMD), 2004 Master of Social Work graduate, Julia Jaakola was honored for her work on behalf of children, at the National Conference on Child Abuse and Neglect held in Boston in mid April. Ms. Jaakola was presented the Association on Children, Youth and Families Commissioner's Award.
Jaakola is a program development and evaluation coordinator for the Fond du Lac Band of Lake Superior Chippewa. She is a resident of Cloquet, Minnesota.
The Association on Children, Youth and Families honors one person from each state for significant contributions toward the prevention and treatment of child abuse and neglect. The national conference, held every two years, provides a forum in which experts in child maltreatment from all over the nation share cutting-edge knowledge and skills useful in child abuse and neglect prevention, treatment and intervention.
A social worker since 1987, Jaakola has received a number of professional awards in her career, including the Honoring Nations Award from the Kennedy School of Government at Harvard University in 1996.
In making the nomination, Minnesota Gov. Tim Pawlenty and Minnesota Human Services Commissioner Kevin Goodno and praised Jaakola's accomplishments locally and nationally in helping improve the lives of children. "Ms. Jaakola has done much in her long career to push to the forefront the needs of American Indian children and families, which are disproportionately represented in the child welfare system. She exemplifies commitment and dedication," wrote Pawlenty and Goodno in making their nomination.
Jaakola served for 14 years as chair of the Indian Child Welfare Advisory Board, which advises the commissioner of Human Services on issues and best practices in the area of Indian child welfare. Her leadership in 1998 on behalf of 11 American Indian tribes in Minnesota in negotiating a model Tribal/State Agreement for implementing the Indian Child Welfare Act has helped ensure the consistent application of laws designed to protect and keep Indian families together.