PUBLIC INFORMATION OFFICE
SUPREME JUDICIAL COURT
John Adams Courthouse
One Pemberton Square
Boston, Massachusetts 02108
Jennifer Donahue/Erika Gully-Santiago
FOR IMMEDIATE RELEASE
August 12, 2021
Juvenile Court Chief Justice Amy Nechtem Receives U.S. Department of Health and Human Services Champion Award for Judicial Leadership
BOSTON, MA – On July 28, 2021, the U.S. Department of Health and Human Services Administration for Children and Families awarded Juvenile Court Chief Justice Amy Nechtem the 2021 Children’s Bureau Champion Award. The award was officially announced during the 22nd National Conference on Child Abuse and Neglect, which was held virtually this year.
The award recognized Chief Justice Nechtem for her persistent service on behalf of children, youth, young adults, and families, and for demonstrating an outstanding commitment to building community capacity and ensuring multi-disciplinary and cross-sector collaboration to develop a child and family well-being system that is dynamic, responsive, and differentiated based on community and individual needs.
“During my six years as chief justice, I have been working toward a change of judicial practice in child welfare cases in Massachusetts. Together with my team we launched Pathways, using a multidisciplinary approach inclusive of all child serving stakeholders,” said Chief Justice Nechtem. “Pathways has become a national model of practice for differentiated case management of these very complex cases. At the heart of each case is a vulnerable child waiting for a permanent, stable home.”
“I am honored to receive this award, which celebrates our work and leadership in Massachusetts on Pathways and other innovative programs, and our commitment and passion of purpose to achieve the best possible outcomes for children while strengthening families,” Chief Justice Nechtem said.
The Juvenile Court has also implemented the Massachusetts Child Welfare Resource Mapping Model, the first in the nation supported by the National Center for State Courts and the Casey Family Foundation. With a focus on prevention and intervention, the new model focuses on changing the trajectory of youth and families already in the court system – to disrupt generational child welfare, food insecurity, homelessness, substance abuse disorders, and to support mental health challenges and educational stability by identifying resources available in their communities.
Chief Justice Nechtem has served on the Juvenile Court since 2001, and as Chief Justice since July 30, 2014. Before her appointment as Chief Justice, she served as Associate Justice of the Essex County Juvenile Court. Prior to her appointment to the bench, she served as an Assistant District Attorney in Suffolk County where she handled child abuse cases.