The Honorable Sol Gothard has devoted his entire career to protecting the abused and to improving the legal system to which they are en-trusted. For this and for his continued work with the National Organization of Forensic Social Work, he was honored at the 28th annual conference with the Sol Gothard Life-time Achievement Award from NOFSW.
In his remarks, Judge Gothard reflected on his personal experience with forensic social work. “My child-hood was traumatic because of the domestic violence that occurred in the home. It was so bad that child protection workers actually appeared at my home to remove me to a foster home or some kind of institution for neglected children.”
Judge Gothard received his B.A. from the City College of New York (1953) and his Masters of Social Work from Case Western University (1957). While serving as a probation officer, and eventually Assistant. Director of Probation in the Orleans Parish Juvenile Court, he attended law school at night for 4 years. In 1962 Judge Gothard graduated from Loyola University School of Law in New Orleans. In 1972, he was elected to the bench of the Jefferson Parish, Louisiana, Juvenile Court.
Sol stated that “the social workers that helped define me, gave me hope and a purpose in life, and expanded my horizons were the most important people in my life throughout this time. Social workers were my heroes, father figures, role models, and mentors until they, were ultimately re-placed by my wife (whom I met in Case Western Reserve University’s School of Social Work) and my family.
During his tenure as Chief Judge on the juvenile bench, the court was nationally recognized for its comprehensive and innovative evaluation and treatment programs. Under Judge Gotthard’s leadership, in 1978, the Jefferson Abuse and Neglect Advocacy Project, which created the Tulane Juvenile Law Clinic, began. The Clinic jointly trained law students, social work students, and volunteer local attorneys to advocate for abuse and neglect victims in the court. He was elected to the Louisiana Fifth Circuit Court of Appeal where he served until his retirement in 2005. He served as a board member of the National Organization of Forensic Social Work. Judge Gothard taught at the Tulane School of Social Work, served on the National Council of Juvenile and Family Court Judges, The Institute on Violence, Abuse and Trauma, The American Humane Association, Loyola University, and Southern University Graduate School of Social Work.
Judge Gothard was also selected “Citizen of the Year” by the Louisiana State Chapter of the National Association of Social Workers.
“Receiving the (NOFSW) award was a complete shock to me,” said Gothard, who has been an active participant in NOFSW meetings and activities for 25 years.
Click here (Gothard Award Nomination Form) to download a copy of the Sol Gothard Lifetime Achievement Award nomination form. Nominations are due to NOFSW by January 31, 2012.