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Rep. Brent Haymond, R-Springville, has been named the 1996 Child Advocate of the Year by Utah Children, an organization that speaks out on behalf of children.

Utah Children cited Haymond's work during the 1995 session as well as his legislative advocacy for children since his election to the state House of Representatives in 1991. Haymond is credited with passage of several key pieces of legislation.The 1994 Child Welfare Reform Act significantly reformed the state's child welfare system. The 1995 amendments put into place a temporary court system to provide permanency for hundreds of children who had been in foster care for more than 18 months.

Haymond is credited with helping the state add new court judges, additional attorneys general and guardians ad litem to work on children's cases. Many new employees have also been hired by the Division of Child and Family Services to investigate abuse, document cases, promote good foster care, facilitate adoptions and relate directly to children.

"This act reinvented the delivery of child welfare services to children who have been abused or neglected," said Mary T. Noonan, director of the Utah Division of Child and Family Services. "The legislation was premised upon three critical notions - protection, permanence and partnership. It has resulted in a more effective, efficient and child-focused approach to serving our children."