Kentucky Court of Justice
Judges attend conference that kicks off statewide initiative on child protection
Chief Justice Joseph E. Lambert brought together circuit and district judges from across Kentucky to attend a child protection conference in Covington June 12-13. Chief Justice Lambert proposed the idea for the conference, titled “Justice for Children: the Critical Role of Judges,” after participating in the National Leadership Summit on the Protection of Children in the fall of 2005.
More than 125 judges from across the state attended the conference, which was sponsored by the Administrative Office of the Courts with a federal grant from the Children’s Justice Act.
“Children are our most vulnerable citizens and one of the foremost duties of Kentucky judges is to see that they are protected,” said Chief Justice Lambert. “While Kentucky is making progress in moving foster children toward safe and permanent homes, there is always more we all can do to improve this process with due regard for the rights of the children and their parents. This conference is designed to give judges practical ideas on how to handle these sensitive cases and achieve an outcome that best serves the children.”
Jefferson County Family Court Judge Patricia Walker FitzGerald and Christian County District Judge James G. Adams served as co-chairs for the conference.
Several presenters from the National Leadership Summit joined Kentucky judges, social services professionals and officials from the Cabinet for Health and Human Services to serve as faculty for the conference. Guest speakers included Judge William Byars, Jr., director of the South Carolina Department of Juvenile Justice; Drs. Otto Kaak and James Clark, primary investigators for the Comprehensive Assessment and Training Services Project, University of Kentucky; and Commissioner Tom Emberton, Jr., Department for Community Based Services, Kentucky Cabinet for Health and Family Services.
The Administrative Office of the Courts (AOC) supports the activities of more than 3,500 Kentucky Court of Justice employees, including the elected offices of justices, judges and circuit court clerks. The Education Services Department of the AOC provides continuing education to these elected officials through conferences and judicial colleges.