Story on Native American Foster Mom Wins Journalism Award

Last  year, The Chronicle of Social Change published a story titled “L.A.’s One and Only Native American Foster Mom” as part of its series on foster parent recruitment.

It introduced readers to Lisa Smith, a Cherokee woman in Diamond Bar, California, who was caring for two Native American children in Los Angeles County’s foster care system.

At the time the article was written there were 169 Native American children involved in Los Angeles County’s foster care system, but Smith was the county’s only Native American foster parent.

The story was reported and written by Daniel Heimpel, a journalist who is the founder and publisher of The Chronicle of Social Change.

Last night, Heimpel won first place for “L.A.’s One and Only Native American Foster Mom” in the category of online “hard news feature” at the Los Angeles Press Club’s 59th Annual Southern California Journalism Awards. The story also won second place for “minority/immigration” reporting on any media platform, including print, radio, TV or online.

Lisa Smith in her foster sons' bedroom.
CREDIT: Isabel Avila; Lisa Smith in her foster sons’ bedroom.

On the Los Angeles Press Club’s awards announcement, the judges commented: “The systematic break-up of Native American families by the federal government is highlighted by Heimpel’s compelling, hard-hitting article that nevertheless casts hope with the portrayal of L.A. County’s one and only Native American foster mother.”

This year, the Los Angeles Press Club received more than 1,200 submissions for its 2016 awards. The awards were judged by the National Press Club and chapters throughout the country, including the Cleveland Press Club, the Florida Press Club, the Lone Star Press Club and others.

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Holden Slattery
About Holden Slattery 50 Articles
Holden is the distribution and engagement manager for Fostering Media Connections and a general assignment reporter for The Chronicle of Social Change.