By Rita Fuerst Adams, National Executive Director, National Parents Organization
“David Levy was a champion for our cause who made tremendous personal sacrifices of his energy, time and financial resources to advocate for our nation’s children,” said Ned Holstein, MD, MS, National Parents Organization Founder and Chair of the Board. “A dedicated father and husband, he was also a respected leader in our community, and we were deeply saddened to learn of his passing.”
Not long after completing his law degree, David Levy made a name for himself by writing freelance articles in The Washington Post, but it was more than 20 years later that he would make a remarkable impact on our community as an advocate for the children’s rights and parenting rights movements.
Levy, who began his career as a copyright lawyer, joined the conversation regarding children’s and parental rights by quite literally entering a discussion with others following a Virginia congressional hearing in 1984 on problems with the child support system. From that initial meeting sprung the formation of the National Council for Children’s Rights (renamed The Children’s Rights Council in 1992). Serving as its CEO and president, Levy had developed CRC chapters and affiliates across the United States and in seven other countries and built the organization.
In addition, Levy was author of numerous articles on children’s rights and shared parenting, which have appeared in many legal journals and have been widely noted in other publications. But he is perhaps most often associated as the editor of “The Best Parent is both Parents,” which earned him recognition from First Lady Hillary Rodham Clinton in 1993 and later at the White House in 1997 for his outstanding contributions toward child advocacy. Levy was also the recipient of a 2000 “Lifelong Achievement Award” for his “untiring efforts on behalf of the children of America,” which was presented to him by the federal Child Support Office and, in 2002, he met with President George W. Bush following the signing of a bill that assisted the mentoring of children of prisoners. The meeting also included Levy offering support for Bush’s “Fatherhood Bill,” which would provide $64 million a year through 2007 on programs to strengthen fatherhood, promote safe families and make adoption more affordable.
As a testament to his leadership and influence, Levy was also named “One of the 25 Most Influential People in the Lives of Our Children” by Children’s Health Magazine in 2009. He appeared on more than 200 TV and radio talk shows, including Oprah, Good Morning America, the Today Show, and spoke at numerous judicial, child support, shared parenting, fatherhood, stepfamily, supervised visitation conferences and commissions on the needs of children of separated, divorced, and never-married parents, according to his consulting website.
After stepping down as president of CRC, Levy continued his work as a lawyer specializing in custody consulting. He offered counsel on issues ranging from mediation, grandparent’s rights, father’s rights, divorce consultation, access and visitation, parental alienation and custody/joint custody.
Levy said on his consulting website that in the early days of his career, he “was a copyright lawyer, but knew nothing about custody law. I joined Fathers United for Equal Rights and Women’s Coalition... within six months, I was running the meetings.”
After more than two decades entrenched in the issues of his organizations and his practice, Levy helped countless families, mothers, fathers and children navigate the difficult waters of divorce and custody. He will be sorely missed, but his work in furthering the issues for which he felt passionately will stand as a testament for decades to come.
Funeral services for Levy were held on Sunday, December 14, 2014, at the Tifereth Israel Synagogue in Washington, D.C. In lieu of flowers, the family requests donations be made to the Synagogue, which is located at 7701 16th Street NW Washington, DC 20012.