NCJFCJ Announces Connie Hickman Tanner as Chief Program Officer

November 30, 2017


The National Council of Juvenile and Family Court Judges (NCJFCJ) has announced Connie Hickman Tanner as Chief Program Officer, Child Welfare and Juvenile Law. She starts January 1, 2018.

Hickman Tanner has more than 26 years of experience working with courts. She began her legal career with the Federal District Court, Office of Desegregation Monitoring, working with a team to monitor compliance of the Pulaski County Desegregation Settlement Agreement.

She then joined the Arkansas Supreme Court Administrative Office of the Courts, where she worked for 23 years, first as a staff attorney, then as director of juvenile court services and court services director. She supervised the Judicial Education Division that provided ongoing continuing legal education for all appellate, circuit and district judges, their employees and court stakeholders, Public Education and Community Outreach, and the Domestic Violence Programs. She also supervised all Juvenile Court Programs, including the Court Improvement Program (CIP) State Court Appointed Special Advocates (CASAs) Program, Dependency-Neglect Attorney Ad Litem Program, and Parent Counsel Program.

As part of Arkansas’ CIP, Hickman Tanner coordinated the first assessment of how Arkansas courts were handling dependency-neglect proceedings. In 2005, she coordinated the reassessment and co-authored the CIP Reassessment Report and authored the CIP Reassessment Executive Summary. This reassessment evaluated implementation of the committee’s 1997 recommendations, and included additional findings and recommended improvements, which were key to Arkansas making significant systemic changes to the courts in child welfare.

"Connie brings a plethora of experience to the NCJFCJ," said Joey Orduna Hastings, NCJFCJ chief executive officer. "Her invaluable contributions that led to systematic change as part of Arkansas’ Supreme Court and Court Improvement Program speaks to her breadth of work and innovative leadership that can take the NCJFCJ into our next 80 years. We are thrilled to add her as a thought leader to our team, whose work is recognized by many in the field as best practices."

In 2013, she researched and wrote Educational Stability: Improving Outcomes for Foster Children and Youth, as part of her Fellows project with the National Center for State Courts (NCSC). This work led to the development of strategic plans with specific recommended practice strategies for judges, attorneys, CASAs, and child welfare caseworkers to improve educational outcomes for foster youth.

“We look forward to Connie’s leadership guiding the NCJFCJ’s work in child welfare and juvenile law,” said Judge Anthony (Tony) Capizzi, NCJFCJ president. “Her vast experience and history in all the layers of our juvenile and family court system will be essential for the NCJFCJ, as we continuously adapt to new trends and challenges emerging every day within our nation’s courts.”

Hickman Tanner is a NCSC Fellow, and has served as faculty with the American Bar Association, the NCJFCJ, and National Association of Counsel for Children. She researched and wrote the Arkansas Juvenile Judges’ Benchbook. She also authored a law review article entitled, Arkansas’s Extended Jurisdiction Act: The Balance of Offender Rehabilitation and Accountability. Hickman Tanner is a graduate of University of Arkansas at Little Rock, School of Law and has an undergraduate degree from Hendrix College.

“I am honored and excited to join the NCJFCJ team,” said Hickman Tanner. “As a court administrator, I have relied on the NCJFCJ for resources, research, and best practices to enhance my work with judges, attorneys, court staff, and stakeholders. I look forward to working with fellow NCJFCJ staff, board, membership, and our national partners to address issues facing our courts so that we can better serve children, youth, and families.”

About the National Council of Juvenile and Family Court Judges (NCJFCJ):

Founded in 1937, the Reno, Nev.-based National Council of Juvenile and Family Court Judges, is the nation’s oldest judicial membership organization and focused on improving the effectiveness of our nation’s juvenile and family courts. A leader in continuing education opportunities, research, and policy development in the field of juvenile and family justice, the 2,000-member organization is unique in providing practice-based resources to jurisdictions and communities nationwide.

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