TUCSON, Ariz. (KGUN) — A passion for making a difference is what brought Pima County Associate Presiding Judge in the Juvenile Division, Kathleen Quigley to where she is today.
"I'm really quite honored that I was even considered for this award," said Quigley.
Quigley is the 2020 recipient of the Terry L. Chandler Award for Excellence in the field of Juvenile Law.
Since joining the Pima County Superior Court in 2003, she has advocated for Southern Arizona children and their families.
"Families run into challenges every day. These challenges obtain to behavioral health services, substance abuse, mental health issues, money and not having a job. There are all sorts of reasons that children, or their parents, might come to the attention of the Department of Child Safety," said Quigley.
To better serve Southern Arizonans, Quigley took her knowledge outside of the courthouse. She has worked on two programs that aim to improve the approach to cases involving juveniles.
One is known as the Southern Arizona Transnational Task Force. Its members address the challenges of cases involving children whose parents are citizens of other countries.
"We learned about how better to reach parents that might be in ICE custody and how to work with them. This helped us find parents that we might not have found before," said Quigley.
Quigley also helped formed Pima County's Dependency Alternative Program.
"It really helps families and children maintain stability. It keeps the department of child safety from taking on cases when their attention is best directed elsewhere," said Quigley.
For Quigley, there is always one main goal.
"Anything we can do to make it easier on the children, easier on the families, make the system more understandable and make it work better for the families -- we're all in," said Quigley.
Quigley said she hopes to expand her efforts across the United States and make sure every family and child has access to fair, equal and effective justice.