LAWRENCEVILLE– The Gwinnett County Board of Commissioners on Tuesday (May 17) approved a reorganization of the Gwinnett County Juvenile Court system. The decision will establish a new administrative department and move administration of Juvenile Court to the Administrative Office of the Courts, a move celebrated by the juvenile court judges.
The new Department of Child Advocacy and Juvenile Services will be headed by Michelle Vereen, a veteran staff member in Gwinnett County Juvenile Court. The changes will become effective May 28.
“We are grateful the County accepted the Court’s proposed reorganization,” said Judge Nhan-Ai Simms. “This will allow our employees to better serve the young people of our community in an efficient and timely manner.”
As it stands, the guardian ad litem, court-appointed special advocates and probation officers under the court report to the juvenile court judges. This may cause potential or perceived conflicts with employees’ ability to independently investigate cases and offer recommendations to the court. The reorganization will allow for the needed independence and open opportunities for the new department to apply for grants, prepare for future legislative changes and tap into County resources.
Under the approved structure, employee positions would be transferred to the newly- created Department of Child Advocacy and Juvenile Services and report to the County Administrator.
Pictured: Michell Vereen will head Gwinnett County’s Department of Child Advocacy and Juvenile Services. Photo provided by Gwinnett County government.