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For Immediate Release

October 31, 2023

ROCKDALE COUNTY, Ga. –  In a prestigious ceremony held at the Augusta Marriott & Conference Center on Thursday, October 12, 2023, Judge Maureen Wood of the Rockdale County Juvenile Court was honored with the Innovative Leadership Award at the 2023 Georgia Conference on Children and Families (GCCF).

The award recognizes Judge Wood’s exceptional leadership in the field and her unwavering dedication to enhancing programs for court-involved youth and families since taking the bench in 2016. Judge Wood’s contributions were celebrated by her peers, who described her as “a leader amongst leaders.” Key accomplishments highlighted at the awards ceremony include:

  • Expanding the Rockdale County Juvenile Court program offerings by implementing two additional Accountability Courts: The Family Treatment Court and Mental Health Resource Court.
  • Revamping the Court’s CHINS protocol to improve its effectiveness.
  • Initiating the Project GLOW girls’ group, a program designed to address the increasing number of girls in the juvenile justice system. This program focuses on self-esteem, community engagement, goal setting, and self-care through a strength-based curriculum.
  • Establishing the Youth IMPACT Center Day program, which provides daily supervision and educational instruction to suspended and expelled youth.

The GCCF is Georgia’s largest annual interdisciplinary event, bringing together professionals from various disciplines and organizations dedicated to serving the state’s children and families. The conference offers specialized tracks, training sessions, and keynote presentations aimed at improving outcomes for the community’s most vulnerable individuals. Participants in the conference include representatives from child advocacy, juvenile justice, social services, behavioral health, education, legal counsel, and the faith-based community.

The theme of this year’s conference, “We are the Village,” underscores the importance of collective effort in addressing the needs of children and families in Georgia. In her acceptance speech, Judge Wood expressed her gratitude, stating, “I’m humbled and honored to accept this award. I can’t take all the credit. None of this would be possible without staff and stakeholders willing to share my vision and jump in without resistance. I’m grateful to be surrounded by a village of professionals with hearts for our court-involved youth and families.”

Judge Maureen Wood’s leadership and dedication to improving the lives of court-involved youth and families in Rockdale County have not only been recognized but celebrated at this year’s GCCF, affirming her position as an exemplary figure in the field.

For more information, please contact Rockdale County Juvenile Court Clerk of Court Darlene.mitchell@rockdalecountyga.gov or at (770) 278-7777.