SAN FRANCISCO–Chief Justice Tani Cantil-Sakauye has presented the Judicial Council’s first Richard D. Huffman Justice for Children and Families Distinguished Service Award to Associate Justice Richard D. Huffman, 4th District Court of Appeal in San Diego, and to William C. Vickrey, recently retired Administrative Director of the Courts, at an event Wednesday at the Judicial Council Conference Center in San Francisco.
The new award honors individuals for outstanding contributions to improving access to justice for children and families. It was named for Justice Huffman because of his many contributions and his deep and abiding interest in making the court system more responsive to the needs of children and families.
This past year, the Chief Justice named Justice Huffman as chair of the Blue Ribbon Commission on Children in Foster Care. Because he wants to experience the demands and needs of the juvenile justice system, Justice Huffman continues to seek occasional assignments in juvenile court. He insists that those who practice in the juvenile and family courts are doing the most important work in our court system. He has been an active participant and trainer in programs for juvenile court judicial officers, social workers, and attorneys.
Vickrey has been involved in child welfare issues his entire career. He served as one of 18 members on the Pew Commission on Children in Foster Care, which was charged with developing nationally focused recommendations to improve outcomes for children in foster care. He established the Center for Families, Children & the Courts as a division of the Administrative Office of the Courts—the first in the nation to focus on families and children and the issues that they encounter in the family and juvenile courts. That model has now been duplicated in Administrative Offices of the Court across the country.
The awards were presented in conjunction with the AO C’s Beyond the Bench 21 conference. Chief Justice Cantil-Sakauye said,“These two men exemplify the passion, dedication, and lifelong commitment to issues affecting children and families that are at the heart of this award.”