On behalf of the Tenth Judicial Circuit, Presiding Judge Rachel Bringer Shepherd accepted the 2012 Daniel O’Toole and Permanency awards, presented by Judge Paul Wilson of the Missouri Supreme Court. The ceremony took place at the Monroe County Courthouse in Paris on June 6. Numerous court partners attended the ceremony, including representatives of the offices of Circuit Clerks, Juvenile Office, CASA, Probation and Parole, Children’s Division, the Sheriff’s Department, and the Tenth Circuit Bar Association.
This is the tenth time the Tenth Circuit, which includes Marion, Monroe and Ralls counties, has received the O’Toole Award and the fourth time the Tenth Circuit has received the Permanency Award. Also accepting the awards were Marion County Judge John J. Jackson, Monroe County Judge Michael P. Wilson, and Ralls County Judge David C. Mobley.
The O’Toole Award is given to circuits for efficiently managing and processing cases during fiscal 2012.
The O’Toole Award, named for the late judge’s service as the first chair of the time standards monitoring committee, recognizes the success of the circuits in handling cases in a timely manner. To qualify, a circuit must achieve at least five of the 10 case processing time standards and must not be more than 5 percent from achieving the remaining standards. At the awards presentation, Supreme Court Judge Paul Wilson noted that the Tenth Circuit was one of only three circuits throughout the state to meet 100 percent of the 10 measured time standards for two years in a row.
The Permanency Award is given to circuits for successfully holding timely hearings during fiscal 2012 in child abuse and neglect cases in which children removed from their homes are to be reunited with their families or are to be placed in another permanent home as soon as possible.
The hearing time frames apply to six types of hearings and vary depending on the type of hearing. For example, courts should hold a hearing to determine whether a child safely can return home within three business days from the date the child is taken into protective custody. Another time frame provides that courts should hold a permanency hearing to decide a child’s permanent placement within 12 months from the date the child is taken into protective custody. These time frames were developed based on recommendations from the Commission on Children’s Justice.
In evaluating what circuits qualify for the permanency awards, the circuits first were placed in size classes based on the total number of hearings that were due to be held during a particular time period. A circuit then had to rank among the top two in its size class to qualify.