Washington Courts: Press Release Detail
Justice Bridge Announces Retirement from Washington Supreme Court to head agency working to reform Child Welfare & Juvenile Justice systemsJune 01, 2007
Washington Supreme Court Justice Bobbe J. Bridge has announced that she will retire from the bench at the end of the year to head a statewide non-profit agency working on reform of Washington’s child welfare & juvenile justice systems.
As part of today’s announcement by the MacArthur Foundation of $10 million in funding for investments in juvenile justice reform efforts in Washington, Justice Bridge announced she will step down to become Founding President of the Center for Children & Youth Justice, the non-profit organization that will lead the MacArthur Foundation’s work in Washington state, effective January 1, 2008.
Known for being a leader on behalf of children & youth, Justice Bridge has chaired many task forces and served on the boards of dozens of non-profit agencies dedicated to improving the lives of young people. She has served as a judge for nearly 18 years.
“Those who know me best know that as much as I have loved being a judge, I have always had another passion as well - working to improve the lives of children,” said Bridge of the announcement. “Every day I feel tugged to do more, and this major commitment by the MacArthur Foundation is a wonderful opportunity to make a difference in Washington. After having given nearly two decades to the bench, it’s time to focus all my energies on helping children.”
Bridge has been a Supreme Court Justice since 1999. Prior to that, she served for 10 years as a King County Superior Court judge. During that time, she was twice elected as Presiding Judge, appointed as Chief Judge of King County Juvenile Court, elected by her peers as President of the Washington Superior Court Judges’ Association, and named Judge of the Year by both the Washington State Bar Association Family Law Section and the King County Bar Association. Before joining the bench, Justice Bridge was the first female partner at the law firm of Garvey Schubert Barer.
“It always means change for the Court when one of our colleagues retires, and Justice Bridge has made a tremendous contribution over many years,” said Chief Justice Gerry Alexander. “While her departure at the end of this year from the bench will be a great loss for the Supreme Court and the judiciary as a whole, I have no doubt the lives of many children and their families across the state will be improved because of the new role she is taking on.”
Throughout her judicial career, Justice Bridge has been active in efforts to improve the administration of justice for children and families. She currently serves as co-chair for the Supreme Court Commission on Children in Foster Care, whose mission is to establish safe, permanent, families for all children in foster care. She chairs the Domestic Violence/Child Maltreatment Statewide Protocol Project, and serves as co-chair for the State Becca Task Force, which focuses on truancy prevention. Justice Bridge recently led the Select Committee on Adolescents in Need of Long Term Placement, to help the State better respond to unique needs of children who are simultaneously involved in the juvenile justice, child welfare, and related systems. She serves on the boards of Catalyst for Kids, a coalition of child advocates, courts, and community service providers working to improve services to children in foster care, and chaired the Building Blocks Initiative, a King County-wide effort to reduce the disproportionate representation of African-American youth in the juvenile justice system.
"Justice Bridge is an excellent jurist who is not only passionate about the law but who understands that the system must be compassionate and humane as well. She will truly be missed," said Governor Gregoire. "This new calling is a reflection of a lifetime in which she has been a champion for children. I'm excited for Justice Bridge and for the children of our state."
Justice Bridge has been recognized with numerous awards for her judicial and her community leadership, including The Isabel Colman Pierce Award for Excellence in Community Service, YWCA of Seattle-King-Snohomish County; the Community Catalyst Award from Mothers Against Violence in America and the President’s Award from Washington Women Lawyers. For further information, please see a full biography online at Washington Courts.
The Center for Children & Youth Justice is a statewide non-profit organization dedicated to advancing justice for and enhancing the lives of children and youth through juvenile justice, child welfare, and related systems reform. Justice Bridge will serve as the Founding President of CCYJ when she retires from the Court at the end of 2007.
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