• juvenile;
  • children;
  • unified family court;
  • American Bar Association;
  • ABA;
  • diversion;
  • intervention

As president of the American Bar Association when the “Summit on Unified Family Courts” convened in May 2007, Karen J. Mathis welcomed summit attendees. Recounting the many reasons children wind up in court, Mathis observed that society is lucky if these problems even come before the courts. Too often, she said, the underlying problems of destructive behavior among youth are lost in the shuffle of too many lawyers, case workers, and judges. “Many times they’re ignored by the professionals among us who are not trained to be aware that the problems even exist,” she said. The solution to this fragmented approach is unified family courts, she concluded.