Hon. Amy Nechtem Receives National 2021 Department of Health and Human Services Award

Written by National Association of Women Judges|September 27, 2021|News

Jennifer Donahue/Erika Gully-Santiago 

August 6, 2021 

Juvenile Court Chief Justice Amy Nechtem Receives National 2021 Department of Health and Human Services Champion Award for Judicial Leadership 

BOSTON, MA – On July 28, 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.  

The Juvenile Court oversees civil and criminal matters statewide involving children including youthful offender, care and protection, and delinquency cases. It is comprised of eleven divisions with 42 authorized statewide judicial positions.

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