December 4, 2015
The Recorder sought nominations in three categories for its 2015 Innovator Awards. The categories included serial innovators–individuals who’ve had a light bulb going off over their heads throughout their careers. Bonnie Hough, Managing Attorney at the Judicial Council of California’s Center for Families, Children & the Courts, is just such an individual and is a 2015 Innovator Award winner.
Hough and her team handle an enormous portfolio of tasks. She manages units that work on domestic violence issues, tribal-state court relations, access-to-justice matters and general family law. She also works closely on rules and forms relating to juvenile and family courts.
When the Legislature passed the Sargent Shriver Civil Counsel Act in 2009, it was up to Hough and the center staff to figure out how to make a handful of pilot programs that provide legal representation to low-income Californians work at the court level. Two years later she helped launch the California Courts Self-Help Center, a website that offers guidance to non-lawyers on legal issues ranging from adoption to workplace violence. The site includes 4,000 pages of content and is accessed by approximately 4 million users annually.
She was also responsible for implementing the family law facilitator program, which requires every county to maintain an office that provides free help to litigants with child support and other issues.
Organizations mentioned/involved: Judicial Council of California – Center for Families, Children & the Courts