Eighth Judicial Circuit Prioritizes Cases that Affect Children

Eighth Judicial Circuit Prioritizes Cases that Affect Children

The Eighth Judicial Circuit has made it a priority to hear cases that impact children during this emergency period, whether those cases are classified as essential or are considered non-essential.  Our judiciary has moved forward in unfamiliar territory to prevent these cases from being delayed.  

Judge Denise R. Ferrero, Eighth Circuit, conducts a remote adoption hearing.

With the use of Zoom videoconferencing and the cooperation of attorneys and court partners, our circuit has not missed a juvenile dependency docket.  While hearings do take a little longer than usual, participants are grateful that procedures have been put in place to allow their cases to move forward.  Dependency General Magistrate Nancy Wilkov managed to successfully conduct one hearing that not only involved multiple participants, but also multiple interpreters speaking several different languages, all remotely.


Eighth Circuit Dependency General Magistrate Nancy Wilkov conducts a remote dependency docket.

All family court judges in the circuit have used Zoom videoconferencing to address pressing matters involving children. The availability of remote participation has had the unexpected benefit of allowing judges a glimpse into the home environment of parents and caregivers, as well as the ability to receive testimony from witnesses who may not have otherwise had the means to appear for court hearings.  Circuit Judge Denise R.  Ferrero continues to regularly conduct pro se hearings remotely, as well as adoption final hearings, one of which she navigated with 18 participants.

While none of us wanted to be in this situation, our judges, judicial assistants, and staff have risen to the challenge and come up with innovative solutions and creative processes so that the issues impacting children and families in our circuit can be addressed.

Beth Schwartz, Court Publications Writer

Originally published at https://supremecourt.flcourts.gov/News-Media/Court-News/Eighth-Judicial-Circuit-Prioritizes-Cases-that-Affect-Children

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