Center for Families, Children and the Courts Hires Coordinator for Truancy Court Program April 19
May 19, 2005
Contact: University Relations
The University of Baltimore School of Law’s Center for Families, Children and the Courts (CFCC) has appointed Patricia S. Schminke to serve as coordinator of its newly established “truancy court” program. Schminke, who began her duties on March 1, will act as a liaison among the center, the volunteers who operate the court and the five Baltimore City schools participating in the program.
The program, announced last December, pairs judges, law students, counselors and education specialists with truant students, services providers, their parents, teachers and principals in an enhanced effort to improve overall school attendance. The program is currently running or is slated to run in five elementary and middle schools—Southeast, Highlandtown, and Canton middle schools, and Elmer Henderson and Holabird elementary schools.
Schminke most recently served for four years as director of the Mercy Southwest Legal Advocacy Program, a neighborhood clinic providing free legal services to the residents of the Hollins-Poppleton community, as well as to clients and employees of Mercy Southwest Alliance affiliates. She focused on legal issues involving families, landlord-tenant disputes, contracts, estates and trusts, employment law and education. She was a member of the statewide child support stakeholders’ consortium and the citywide special education advocacy group.
Prior to that, Schminke served as a legislative assistant and special projects coordinator on family law issues for Del. Kenneth C. Montague Jr. She has also led a solo legal practice in Towson since 1997, where she specializes in family law, wills and education.
Schminke is a 1995 graduate of the University of Baltimore School of Law. She also holds a master of library science degree from the State University of New York in Albany, a bachelor’s degree in education from Louisiana State University and a mediation training certificate from Harvard Law School. She is a member of the Maryland Bar Association and the United States District of Maryland bar.
CFCC, in collaboration with the American Bar Association’s (ABA) Standing Committee on Substance Abuse, has been involved in previous truancy court programs in Baltimore and other sites associated with an ABA initiative. It has worked closely with city, school and court officials who are charged with improving the attendance rate and/or dealing with juvenile crime.
Leveraging a grant from the Charles Crane Family Foundation, the center worked with the Baltimore City Public School System to create a truancy court program that would provide students and their families with the support and services to help keep them in school as well as to make parents and guardians responsible for those who do not attend school.
The University of Baltimore is an upper-division, graduate and professional university. UB—the state’s career-minded university—is a member of the University System of Maryland and comprises the School of Law, the Yale Gordon College of Liberal Arts and the Robert G. Merrick School of Business.