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Newsmaker: Kathryn Leahy

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By Timothy Puko
Wednesday, Dec. 15, 2010

Age: 65

Residence: Ross

Family: Daughter, Anne Breitenstein, 32

Occupation: Leahy is an adoption research specialist for the Allegheny County Department of Human Services. Her work is part of a court mandate to help any adopted person in the county seeking information about birth parents, medical histories and more.

Education: Leahy was an English major at Allegheny College, graduating in 1967. She earned a master's degree in social work from West Virginia University in 1975 and a certificate in family therapy from the University of Pittsburgh in 1995.

Background: She has spent more than 30 years working in child welfare and mental health for Allegheny County. She started her career in Versailles, Ky., before coming to Pittsburgh.

Leahy is raising money for a personal project to preserve decades of children's records at the Senator John Heinz History Center in the Strip District. Many of the region's juvenile court records were waterlogged, damaged or missing after a fire in the 1960s.

Noteworthy: Children's Court gave her this year's Kids for Keeps Community Champion Award for her work.

Quote: "It's a lot of fun, a lot of digging, a lot of history. ... After you know what this means to people, how they become connected, how they have an identity, how they finally know the story, it's so important."



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