National Center for State Courts
Introducing the Chief Justice Mark S. Cady Family Justice Reform Initiative
Williamsburg, Va., Feb. 25, 2021 — The nation’s state court leaders have renamed the Family Justice Reform Initiative (formerly “FJI”) in honor of the late Iowa Chief Justice Mark S. Cady, who died unexpectedly in November 2019, two months after he delivered the keynote address at the National Judicial Leadership Summit on the Protection of Children.
Alaska Chief Justice Joel Bolger, the current chair of the Cady Initiative for Family Justice Reform, said that the Initiative’s work “imbues processes involving families with the decency and civility that Chief Justice Cady embodied.” Indiana Chief Justice Loretta Rush called Chief Justice Cady “a champion of juvenile justice and family justice reform.”
The vote to rename the Initiative after Chief Justice Cady -- who was chair of the Children and Families in the Courts Committee and president of CCJ at the time of his death -- occurred this month at a meeting of the Conference of Chief Justices (CCJ) and the Conference of State Court Administrators (COSCA). The chief justices and the state court administrators noted that FJI was formed under his vision and leadership and that his vision represented a fundamental shift in the management of family cases -- one centered on the needs of the families and children under the courts’ supervision.
At the National Judicial Leadership Summit in September 2019, Chief Justice Cady’s speech served as call to action to reform processes involving children and families. “We need to be able to say that we did everything we could in our time,” he said.
Led by the National Center for State Courts, the Cady Initiative is a national reform effort under the guidance of CCJ and COSCA. The National Council of Juvenile and Family Court Judges and the Institute for the Advancement of the American Legal System are partners.
The National Center for State Courts, headquartered in Williamsburg, Va., is a nonprofit court organization dedicated to improving the administration of justice by providing leadership and service to the state courts. Founded in 1971 by the Conference of Chief Justices and Chief Justice of the United States Warren E. Burger, NCSC provides education, training, technology, management, and research services to the nation’s state courts.