Local News

Judge Wants Family Court Program In Wake County

Posted June 2, 2004 4:28 a.m. EDT

— A judge is leading the charge to get a Family Court Program in Wake County.

In her 16 years on the bench, Wake County Chief District Court Judge Joy Hamilton has seen just about everything. One thing she would still like to see is a Family Court Program.

"You would think with all of this is physically going on in the same building, we would have the ability to coordinate that, but we don't," Hamilton said.

Linda Tidwell said she knows how hard it is to navigate the current system. She said she left her husband after he abused her. He then abducted their 3-year-old daughter.

"I don't think they really look at the big picture," she said.

Hamilton wants state lawmakers to fund a Family Court Program in Wake County.

"You would like to think that as a judge, once a family hits this courthouse and you start working with that family that you can make things better for that family. That's why we're here," she said.

The concept has some support in the General Assembly.

"[The] budget is tight, but this is a priority and we're working in a bipartisan way in the House and Senate to try to get this funded," said Sen. Richard Stevens, R-Wake.

"We really do need this special resources to be able to organize the court system and get services to people," said Rep. Deborah Ross, D-Wake.

Wake County lawmakers are asking for $360,000 to create the Family Court Program. The money would pay for staff to coordinate, streamline and track cases involving family matters. Fifteen counties already have a Family Court Program.