St. Louis County Circuit Court
105 South Central Avenue
Clayton, Missouri 63105
FOR IMMEDIATE RELEASE
St. Louis County Family Court in Full Compliance with Reforms Required
By 2016 Agreement with U.S. Department of Justice
CLAYTON, MO – December 26, 2019 – The St. Louis County Family Court has achieved full compliance with the terms of an agreement with the U.S. Department of Justice, ending three years of federal oversight.
“The Department has decided that the Agreement should be terminated and our investigation closed,” wrote Justice Department official Steven H. Rosenbaum in a letter sent last week to Family Court Administrative Judge Margaret T. Donnelly. (See attachment.) “We recognize the hard work that the Family Court has put into protecting the due process and equal protection rights of youth in juvenile justice proceedings through changed policies and practices…We congratulate the Family Court for fully implementing the reforms in the Agreement.” Rosenbaum heads the Special Litigation Section of the Civil Rights Division of the Department of Justice.
“Our judges and every member of the Family Court staff are dedicated to ensuring that juveniles’ constitutional rights and best interests are protected at every step of the legal process,” Judge Donnelly said. “We also are committed to maintaining community safety, repairing harm done to victims and focusing on accountability for juveniles. Going forward, we will continue the partnerships we have built to ensure that court-involved youth obtain the services they need to develop into responsible adults.”
As part of the agreement, the Family Court took actions necessary to provide indigent juveniles full access to legal representation, enhanced staff training, and hired data analysts to track and evaluate programs and policies. In addition, the court has expanded its collaborations with schools, law enforcement, faith-based groups and advocacy organizations to provide alternative programs to keep juveniles from entering the court system.
Past Department of Justice reports can be found at https://wp.stlcountycourts.com/family-court/updates-on-the-agreement-with-the-department-of-justice/
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