Communications Office:
David Bookstaver, Director
Mai Yee, Assistant Director
(212) 428-2500

Date: December 18, 2000

Seal of the Unified Court System
NY Launches Nation's First Court-Based Literacy Program
NEW YORK - Chief Judge Judith S. Kaye today kicked off the nation's first court-based literacy program, handing out new books to children at the Manhattan Family Court and Nassau County Family Court Children's Centers. The unique new program, which today begins statewide in all 28 court-annexed Children's Centers, features the gift of a new, age-appropriate book for every child who visits a Children Center.

Research has shown that a large number of children enter school unprepared to read and do not have books of their own at home. The Children's Center Literacy Project seeks to create a literacy-rich environment for the thousands of New York children who accompany their parents to court and spend time in any one of the network of Children's Centers statewide. In addition to reading to children, all Center activities, including art projects, games and computer exercises, will be focused on reading readiness. To launch the literacy initiative, Golden Books Family Entertainment has donated 40,000 books - enough for every child in the first year of the Children's Center program.

Chief Judge Kaye said, "Our court-based Children's Centers provide a perfect opportunity to start a child on that essential road to literacy. Tens of thousands of youngsters pass through the doors of a Children'sCenter in a New York court annually. Now every child will walk away with a brand new book and perhaps enough stimulation and encouragement to continue reading for life. I am grateful to Golden Books for donating a generous supply of books, which will provide for the needs of the program's entire first year of operation."

The Children's Center Literacy Project was developed by the Permanent Judicial Commission on Justice for Children - a commission chaired by the Chief Judge, which oversees the Statewide network of Children's Centers in the Courts. Its partners in this initiative include President Clinton's America Reads Challenge as well as the not-for-profit agencies that operate the Children's Centers. In New York City, all the centers are operated by Safe Horizon, Inc. The Nassau Family Court Children's Center is operated by Family and Children's Association, Inc.

Golden Books Family Entertainment, Inc., is the leading children's book publisher in North America. The company owns one of the world's largest libraries of family entertainment copyrights and creates, publishes and markets entertainment and educational products for children and their families across all media. From today's hottest licenses like Pokémon, The Powerpuff Girls, Scooby-Doo, Barbie and Disney to beloved children's classics like The Poky Little Puppy, Rudolph the Red-Nosed Reindeer and pat the bunny, Golden Books publishes across a wide variety of formats to meet the educational and entertainment needs of every child.