On September 24, Voices for Children in Nebraska will honor those who have made an exceptional impact in ensuring Nebraska is the best place to be a kid. Over the next several weeks, Voices will highlight the 2016 Spotlight Gala honorees. We continue our Spotlight Series today with our 2016 Individual Award winner, Judge Douglas F. Johnson.
During his tenure, Judge Johnson has worked to ensure that our juvenile justice system gives young people meaningful pathways to rehabilitation and has worked to make the court process less traumatic for children and families. He was appointed to the Separate Juvenile Court of Douglas County in 1993. He is also an adjunct professor of law at Creighton University School of Law, teaching Juvenile Law for over 20 years.
In addition to his role as a Judge, he has generously lent his time and expertise to many local and national efforts aimed at improving our justice system. He is a Past President of the National Council of Juvenile and Family Court Judges (NCJFCJ) and is a long time member of its teaching faculty. Judge Johnson provides training on the Resource and Permanency Planning Guidelines, the Adoption and Safe Families Act, Evidence, Judicial Ethics and Leadership, Court Collaboration, the Prehearing Conference, Reasonable Efforts for Infants and Toddlers, Helping Babies from the Bench, and other topics. He is the founding Lead Judge of the NCJFCJ’s Child Victims Model Court in Omaha.
In 2005, Judge Johnson started Nebraska’s first Family Drug Treatment Court (FDTC) which focused on families with children from birth to five years of age. In 2014, he worked with Project Harmony to expand 0-5 FDTC to include all families with children birth to five in the Douglas County Juvenile Court, and it is now called: Impact From Infancy.
Judge Johnson also serves the community in a number of non-court capacities: President of the Omaha Bar Association, Co-Chair of the Nebraska Supreme Court’s Commission on Children in the Courts, Governor’s Commission on Protection of Children, Nebraska State Bar Foundation Fellow, American Bar Foundation Fellow, Co-chairs the Youth Impact! of Douglas County, and Judicial Branch Education Advisory and Curriculum Committee. He serves on numerous national, regional and local commissions, committees, and Boards. Judge Johnson and his dog, Finnegan, became a certified therapy team in 2014. Since 2012, Finnegan has come to court every day and provides comfort to children, parents and professionals.
His greatest delights are his wife, Mary, and daughters Anne and Kathleen, and faithful dog Finnegan. We are pleased to honor Judge Johnson at our spotlight gala for his years of service on behalf of Nebraska kids and families.
The Spotlight Gala, to be held on Saturday, September 24, shines a light on issues Nebraska children face and honors community members who continuously strive to improve the lives of Nebraska’s kids. The annual event includes silent and live auctions, dinner, and the 2016 Spotlight Gala Awards Ceremony. For additional information, or to purchase tickets, click here.