Geauga County Probate and Juvenile Court Judge, Timothy Grendell, Addresses GELPosted Oct. 4, 2013
Judge Timothy J. Grendell, Geauga County's probate and juvenile court judge, addressed a group of fifty community and business leaders at the October Geauga Economic Leadership Breakfast (GEL). His topic, "From the Cradle to the Grave," highlighted the services provided by these courts. Beginning at birth, the courts have imput with oversight of birth certificates, continuing to collecting child support and working with social services to protect children who are endangered to filing estates after death.
Judge Grendell praised his staff and the court administrator David Lebecky and gave much credit to the late Judge Charles Henry for the efficiency and quality of the service provided by the court. He talked about CASA for kids, Court Appointed Special Advocates, a group started by Judge Henry. CASA volunteers represent the “best interest” of a child when family problems such as substance abuse, mental health issues and domestic violence result in child abuse and neglect. The volunteers have replaced paid legal advocates, saving the county money and providing superior care for the children.
Although the CASA volunteers make a big difference in the lives of the county's children, Judge Grendell described the desperate need the county continues to face placing the children in safe environments because of the lack of foster homes. He spoke of children being placed as far away as Youngstown and Toledo.
The discussion continued with the judge describing facets of the juvenile court; jurisdictions and responsibilities. He explained the difference in the detention facilities available for juveniles in the county and how his theory is to reform the juveniles rather than detain them. An example of how he does this is the offer he gave several juveniles who were scheduled to go to detention. All of the students had failing grades in school. The judge gave them until the end of the school year to raise their grades instead of going to the detention facility. Unfortunately, only one of the students took his offer.
One innovation the court has instituted is to spend one day a week in Middlefield, allowing greater court access for people who have difficulty getting to the court in Chardon. Although this was designed especially for the Amish population, juvenile court cases can be set for anyone who finds the Middlefield location more convenient. Probate clerks are availabe in Middlefield on the same day.
The audience found Judge Grendell's speech entertaining and enlightening. He is obviously passionate about what he does and determined to give his best to the county as the judge.