Personal passion: Loreen Arbus

A former two-term governor of the Academy of Television Arts & Sciences, producer Loreen Arbus is the driving force on the board of United Cerebral Palsy, a foundation that was co-founded by her parents, Isabelle and Leonard Goldenson. Arbus is the first woman to head programming for a television network, at Showtime and Cable Health Network/Lifetime.

“I focus a substantial amount of time in the nonprofit world,” says Arbus. “First are women and minorities, the largest minority in the world being those people living with disabilities. People don’t necessarily think of minorities as comprehensively as they must, and disabilities are inclusive in that.

“About two years ago, a very close friend of mine in New York invited me to her apartment to hear about an organization that she had become involved in. She had come up with a legal advocacy organization that acts on behalf of abused and neglected children in the U.S. and they made a presentation that evening. There wasn’t a dry eye in her apartment as we heard the stories of abuse of children in foster care and the deaths of children in foster care and the neglect.

“What really had her interest level was their follow-through. They go to court but they follow through.

“So, I made a donation … to this organization that my friend had become involved with, called Children’s Rights.

“We looked at over 250 pieces of research. What we found was, over 70% of all children in foster care have disabilities. And, a huge percentage (are) severely disabled.

“The kids with disabilities are less safe and more likely to be abused within the foster care system. They are certainly more likely to be institutionalized. They have more difficulty transitioning into adulthood. We published this report called the ‘Forgotten Children.’ We presented it on (Capitol) Hill, and we’re feeding it to a lot of people who are in legislative positions to address aspects that deal with this.

“The overall title is ‘Isabelle’s Kids,’ named after my mother. My parents co-founded what is the fifth-largest health agency in the country today, United Cerebral Palsy, and the foundation. My mother was an unbelievable pioneer in her own right in areas that had to do with disabilities, and this is homage to her.”

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