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Hunter Hurst IV Promoted to Director of the National Center for Juvenile Justice

News / NCJFCJ News / Hunter Hurst IV Promoted to Director of the National Center for Juvenile Justice

The National Council of Juvenile and Family Court Judges (NCJFCJ) is pleased to announce the promotion of Hunter Hurst IV to director of the National Center for Juvenile Justice (NCJJ). The Pittsburgh-based organization is the research division of the NCJFCJ, and over the past five decades has conducted independent research and provided objective information that professionals and decision-makers in the juvenile and family justice system use to increase effectiveness. Hurst will lead the center’s efforts to provide research and data to inform policy, practice, and decision-making in the field of juvenile justice.

Hurst has been an integral part of the NCJJ team since 1992 when he joined as a research assistant. Early in his tenure he developed a national database of juvenile probation professionals across the country and facilitated the distribution of the first edition “Desktop Guide to Good Juvenile Probation Practice.” He conducted surveys on juvenile justice trends during the 1990s and early 2000s and created a database that became an essential resource in the field. Early on in his career, Hurst was also part of the research team that created the first edition “Resource Guidelines: Improving Court Practice in Child Abuse and Neglect Cases,” and he was involved in establishing several state baselines on behalf of the federal Court Improvement Program.

Throughout his career, Hurst has contributed significantly to various research initiatives at the NCJJ, demonstrating his expertise in juvenile and family law topics. From child abuse and neglect cases to juvenile justice reform, addressing racial and ethnic disparities, and establishing model juvenile justice and dependency data, Hurst has made valuable contributions to the advancement of the field. He has also played a key role in directing daily operations for large-scale justice system improvement efforts, both federally and privately funded, while also supporting smaller, focused endeavors at the state and county levels.

“I am truly honored to assume the role of NCJJ Director,” Hurst said. “I have witnessed the profound impact that research and data can have on improving the juvenile justice system. I am committed to continuing the legacy of the organization, working alongside our dedicated team to drive positive change for children, youth, and families involved in the justice system. Together, we will strive to enhance policies, practices, and decision-making by providing valuable insights and innovative solutions.”

Hurst follows in the footsteps of his father, Hunter Hurst III, who served as the founding NCJJ director from 1973-2008. Hurst’s lifelong immersion has shaped his deep understanding of the issues and challenges faced by the juvenile justice system.

“Hunter’s extensive knowledge, expertise, and commitment to our mission will allow him to excel in this role, building on the achievements of his predecessors and leading the NCJJ to even greater heights,” said Joey Orduña Hastings, CEO of the NCJFCJ. “His longstanding dedication to the NCJJ’s work, combined with his experience in the juvenile justice system and our strong NCJJ team, will undoubtedly drive the center’s research and initiatives forward.”

Hurst has authored more than 20 publications and has served as a presenter at many national conferences. He also served in faculty roles at the National Judicial College in the early 2000s. Hurst holds a bachelor’s degree in history from the University of Pittsburgh and a master’s degree in geography and planning from Indiana University of Pennsylvania.