How It Started
The Honorable Lori A. Dumas has a long history of serving the most vulnerable populations in Pennsylvania. To start, she’s spent close to 15 years serving the families and children of Pennsylvania as a Common Pleas Court Judge in the Philadelphia Family Court – Juvenile Division.
“Judge Lori Dumas has helped me numerous times where I recover a juvenile at 2 or 3 in the morning,” Officer Kaluza recalled in a Philadelphia documentary about human trafficking.
Officer Kaluza went on to explain the numerous times Judge Dumas was crucial to protecting the lives and futures of young women. “Who else is awake to help me? I call her [and she] doesn’t even complain. She’s like, ‘What can I do for you, Officer Kaluza?’... and [together] we saved one more female. And that means the world to me.”
Discovering a Passion
While serving in this role, Judge Dumas gained invaluable insight into the tragedy of human trafficking and sexual exploitation. Women and girls are victimized every day, right here in Pennsylvania, and Judge Dumas wasn’t going to sit idly by.
Judge Dumas established herself as an innovative leader by guiding the City of Philadelphia to create the First Judicial District's Juvenile Human Trafficking Court - also called the Working to Restore Adolescents’ Power (WRAP) Court - to provide services to youth who were victims of commercial exploitation.
This Court is the only court like it in the country, specializing in providing resources for growth rather than criminalization. Children are offered the opportunity to voluntarily join WRAP through a pre-trial diversion program. Children who participate are given specialized, trauma-informed care in the least restrictive setting possible.
“Rather than adjudicating these children delinquent for crimes that directly result from their sexual exploitation, the WRAP program diverts the child from the adjudicatory system into the child welfare system, empowering them to heal and move away from their trauma.” Nevada Business Magazine
For her tireless dedication to improving the welfare of the exploited, The National Council of Juvenile and Family Court Judges (NCJFCJ) awarded Judge Dumas the first-ever NCJFCJ Justice Innovation Awards: Innovator of the Year award.
Only the Beginning
“It has been a privilege to bear witness to the love and steely commitment of Judge Dumas to make better the lives of our most vulnerable,” said Malika Saada Saar, Former Executive Director of the national human rights organization, Rights4Girls. “Her efforts, and the spirit she brings to those efforts, set a national example.”
In her future role on the Commonwealth Court, Judge Dumas understands her power to influence and improve the lives of children and vulnerable Pennsylvanians. The Commonwealth Court most often hears cases regarding areas of state regulation, such as education and healthcare.
“These areas affect children and families,” Judge Dumas explains. "The structures of those areas are really lacking... systems that are supposed to serve as [family] resources are lacking to the point where as a Judge, it's my duty to use my power to hold people accountable."
In her seat on the Commonwealth Court, Judge Dumas looks forward to ruling intelligently and fairly on a range of issues, always keeping the welfare of Pennsylvanians in mind. Her unique experience in Family Court, Criminal Court, and Civil Court have created a well-rounded, focused, and dedicated judge that is the perfect choice for the future of our Commonwealth Court of Pennsylvania.
A Little More About Honorable Judge Lori A. Dumas
Judge Dumas has - and will continue - to work tirelessly with a number of organizations:
The Links, Incorporated
Alpha Kappa Alpha Sorority, Incorporated
Northwest Victim Services
National Coalition of 100 Black Women
National Council of Negro Women
Urban League Guild
Big Brothers, Big Sisters
The Mann Center
Dream Camp Foundation
Some of the professional organizations with which she has been affiliated:
Philadelphia and Pennsylvania Bar Associations
Juvenile Court Judges’ Commission
National Council of Juvenile and Family Court Judges
Elder Justice Task Force of the First Judicial District
National Association of Women Judges
Forum of Executive Women
Just a few of Judge Dumas’s awards are:
Philadelphia Business Journal’s 40 under 40 Award
The Tribune Top Ten People to Watch Under 40
The Philadelphia Barristers Distinguished Under 40 Award for Achievement and Service
The Philadelphia Urban League Young Leader Award