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      Local agency leader recognized by American Academy of Pediatrics

      COLUMBIA (WACH)â??Jackie Richards works hard as an advocate for children in South Carolina. If you need further verification, ask the members of the American Academy of Pediatrics, the group that awarded recognized her in their annual meeting on July 28.

      The award, according to the AAP, is presented to people in the state who have made overwhelming contributions to the benefit of children and their healthcare. Richards, according to the board, who voted unanimously to present her, has showed "tremendous efforts to improve the welfare of children in South Carolina."

      Richards, who has serves as the executive director of Family Connection says that the service need of families and children in the state with special needs is a large concern. â??South Carolina ranks 45 in the overall wellbeing of children,â?? says Richards.

      The mission of Family Connection, which was established in 1989, is to provide information and resources to families and professionals who care for children with special care needs. The agency connects parents with similar hardships and concerns, providing a family-to-family network, and offers programs that â??educate and inspire families.â??

      In addition to the services of Family Connection, Richards also points to BabyNet , a system of services for infants and toddlers birth to three years old who have developmental delays or related conditions.

      Family Connection is a chapter of Family Voices, with officer throughout the state, and based in Columbia.