Photo by Gold Country Portraits

Grass Valley, Calif. November 29, 2017 – The Association of Certified Family Law Specialists (ACFLS) Foundation has announced that the Helping Hands Nurturing Center (HHNC) in Grass Valley will receive a $10,000 grant on December 1, 2017 at the ACFLS Holiday Dinner event in San Francisco. The grant is the first $10,000 award ever to be made by the ACFLS Charitable Foundation, a new California non-profit corporation.

According to President Joseph J. Bell, the Foundation was formed in 2016 “to provide direct and substantial financial support to programs and individuals who are working to improve access to justice, to provide family law education and to improve the California family law process for affected persons, families or groups in need.”

The Foundation was created by certified family law specialists: those attorneys who have worked on such matters for at least ten years, completed specified education courses and who have been certified by the California State Bar as specialists after taking a second bar exam. The ACFLS been in existence since certified specialization began in 1980, providing continuing education seminars and law practice skills to its more than 600 members statewide. The Foundation raises money in several ways including donations of the value of one billable hour from Certified Family Law Specialists.

President Bell will present the check to Shona Torgrimson-Duncan, Executive Director of HHNC (newly located at the Lola Montez house.) Bell stated that “the Foundation Board of Directors unanimously chose the HHNC for this grant, over other worthy applicants, based on its innovative and successful programs for families in crisis in our community.”

HHNC was founded in 2014, according to Shona Torgrimson-Duncan, “to promote healthy, nurturing parent-child relationships, through support services and education so that families and their children develop socially, emotionally, and physically through nurturing personal growth.” The organization, she said, seeks to “create communities that embrace the value of raising children in a safe, nurturing environment” and “to foster empathetic and healthy relationships for at-risk parents and children.”

In addition to providing supervisors of visitation between children and parents, HHNC accepts referrals from Nevada County Child Protective Services and the Family Court offering a Nurturing Parenting Program to help at-risk parents learn skills and techniques to parent with compassion and empathy.

In 2016, the HHNP provided such services to 161 Nevada County families and 226 children, a 75% increase over those helped in 2015. “Unfortunately,” Shona said, “for every parent we help without charge, we are forced to turn away five others. In 2016, over 50 parents could not start our programs due to lack of funding, and another 23 could not complete the Nurturing Parenting Program, due to inadequate funding. This grant from the ACFLS will allow us to substantially increase the services we can provide to parents in the coming years.”

For more information regarding HHNC, call 530-559-2313 or email to For information about ACFLS, contact Joseph J. Bell, at 530-272-7477 or visit the website at