As a juvenile and family court judge, Mark Kennedy saw firsthand the devastating toll child abuse and neglect can have on families. Understanding this, he has devoted countless volunteer hours to help children and has been a strong voice for the prevention of child abuse and neglect in Alabama and across the nation for nearly two decades.
In the early 1980s, Justice Kennedy was one of a small group of Alabamians who were instrumental in developing the legislation that created the Children's Trust Fund of Alabama. Justice Kennedy was founding chairman of the Children's Trust Fund, and he has continued to serve in that position for 15 of the agency's 17 years. Under his leadership, the Children's Trust Fund has grown into one of the premier agencies of its kind, currently funding over 130 programs that serve every county in Alabama.
In the late 1980s, Justice Kennedy founded the Corporate Foundation for Children, a private, non-profit organization that helps to foster a network of regional corporate support for the Children's Trust Fund. Under his leadership, the Corporate Foundation has broadened the involvement of citizens by creating private partnerships, including the Birmingham Board for Children, the Alabama Lawyers for Children, and the Home Builders Association for Children.
Justice Kennedy was determined that Alabama would have a realistic and useful plan for the prevention of child abuse, and he brought together hundreds of Alabamians to participate in the writing of a plan that is still used throughout Alabama. Justice Kennedy also chaired the task force to develop child death review team protocols for Alabama, a need he recognized and brought to the attention of state leaders. The work of this task force resulted in the passage of comprehensive legislation creating a child death review team system for Alabama.
Justice Kennedy is recognized nationally for his expertise on issues relating to families, children, and child abuse prevention. In 1999, he was awarded the first annual Champion for Children Award by the University of Alabama and was named to the Alabama Trial Lawyer's Association's Volunteer Hall of Fame. He is past President of the National Committee to Prevent Child Abuse and Neglect and has served on the Advisory Board of the National Children's Resource Center. He has served on numerous State and National task forces to improve the quality of life for children and families, and he currently serves as Chairman of the State Advisory Group on Juvenile Justice. Since retiring from his position on the Alabama Supreme Court in 1999, Justice Kennedy continues to speak on issues relating to the prevention of child abuse and neglect and to dedicate his time to family and children's issues.