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Missouri Chief Justice Paul C. Wilson honored the 41st Judicial Circuit during an awards breakfast Thursday morning, September 15, 2022, in Springfield, for timely processing cases impacting children during fiscal 2021.
The ceremony was held during a joint annual meeting of The Judicial Conference of Missouri (the organization of all the state judges) and The Missouri Bar (the organization of all lawyers licensed in the state) in Springfield.
The Permanency Award recognizes the leadership and hard work of judges, juvenile officers, clerks, children’s division workers, Court Appointed Special Advocates (CASA) and other support staff to protect children who have been abused or neglected. The time standards, established in 2006, apply to certain types of hearings in cases in which children are removed from their homes. They are intended to help provide stability for the children by ensuring they are reunited with their families or placed in another permanent home as soon as possible.
“When children are abused or neglected by the adults in their lives, they rely on our Missouri courts to find them a safe, stable and permanent home as quickly as possible,” Wilson said. “I am proud of the efforts of these 16 circuits in prioritizing the pressing needs of these vulnerable children.”
Collectively, the state’s courts completed 93 percent of these critical abuse and neglect hearings on time. In comparison, the 41st Judicial Circuit (Macon and Shelby counties) was one of 16 circuits completing 100 percent of its hearings on time. This is the sixth time the circuit has earned the award.
“I could not be prouder of the professionals in our Circuit who work with these children,” the circuit’s presiding judge, Judge Frederick P. Tucker, said. “This is where their hearts led them and they, like teachers and foster care providers, are among the most compassionate people I have ever known.”