CYNTHIA NICHOLLS, Jane Addams Award For Outstanding Social Service Accomplishments.  The Jane Addams Award for Outstanding Social Service Accomplishments honors a staff social worker or social service advocate who exemplifies a commitment to clients through his or her advocacy, support, and dedication.  The Addams Award recognizes the profound impact of social workers and social service advocates serving as members of a legal team.  It is named for Jane Addams, a pioneer in establishing the field of social work and the first American woman to be awarded the Nobel Peace Prize.

Cynthia Nicholls has served as a model for CPCS Social Service Advocates (SSAs) for the past ten years.  Throughout her time here, Cindy has been one of the most skilled and dedicated SSAs in the Public Defender Division.

When CPCS established the District Court offices, Cindy was hired as one of our first SSAs. She was instrumental in shaping the vital SSA role, now solidly incorporated into the CPCS criminal defense team model.  For a time, Cindy worked simultaneously at both the PDD and CAFL Lowell offices, seamlessly combining these cross practice area positions. She has since worked full-time in the Lowell and Salem PDD offices.

After receiving her MSW from Howard University in Washington D.C., Cindy’s social work career was defined by her strong advocacy in giving voice to the most marginalized, working with children, families, and those impacted by mental illness, trauma and domestic violence. In addition to clinical work, Cindy’s research fostered positive changes in public service delivery, including the current treatment model for children used by MassHealth.

After completing a year of law school, Cindy brought her considerable skills and dedication to CPCS’s clients and colleagues.  She has consistently shown exceptional initiative, professional skills, and compassion.  Cindy has also worked hard to address systematic barriers that impact our clients.  Her skills have been recognized by judges, who have assigned clients to CPCS specifically to insure Cindy’s involvement.  At dispositional hearings, judges have often favorably quoted from Cindy’s reports.

Cindy believes that our clients are entitled to justice, and works tirelessly to ensure they receive it.  We are deeply grateful for her work.