History of the Tennessee Juvenile Court Services Association (TJCSA)

In September 1972, Juvenile Court representatives from Davidson, Hamilton, Knox and Shelby Counties met in Nashville and agreed to form an ad hoc committee for the purpose of establishing a professional association of juvenile court workers that would become a permanent organization to serve the interest and needs of children in the State. The organizing committee was comprised of the following court officials:

  1. Clarke Harris (Ret.) Court Director of Davidson County
  2. James P. Keebler (Ret.) Court Director of Knox County
  3. William H, “Chick” Gilbert (Ret.) Court Director of Hamilton County
  4. William G. Fulmer (Ret.) Court Clerk, Juvenile Court of Memphis and Shelby County

The ad hoc committee appointed Frank Miller (Knoxville) to serve as temporary Executive Secretary for the purpose of organizing the association. In November 1984, a permanent position was created within the state government for purposes of coordinating and planning the work of Tennessee Juvenile Court Services Association. The first director appointed was Susan Parrish.

As a result of the organizing committee’s work, the TJCSA was chartered with the Tennessee Secretary of State’s office in 1974. The first annual conference was held in Nashville and was hosted by the Davidson County Juvenile Court. The first conference drafted by-laws, elected officers and an executive committee and appointed committees to conduct the business of the newly formed Association. The first officers elected were Clarke Harris, President; William H. Gilbert, Vice-President; Mary Gillespie, Secretary; and Sandra Jones, Treasurer. Since then, the Association has conducted regular annual conferences across the State. The organization is funded mainly through registration and membership fees with some financial support through participation of private providers. The conference membership is approximately 600 Judges and staff and is nationally recognized by the National Council of Juvenile and Family Court Judges as a leader in the field. In 1984, the Association, in cooperation with the Tennessee Council of Juvenile and Family Court Judges, agreed to meet jointly in Memphis for the First Annual Joint Conference on Juvenile Justice.

The charter members of the TJCSA were former members of the first association of juvenile courts known as the Tennessee Probation and Parole Association (later known as the Tennessee Correctional Association). Therefore, the present Association has a long, proud history in the State of carrying out the basic philosophy of the juvenile court in helping children through mutual cooperation. The TJCSA is fortunate to have been supported and guided by outstanding leaders in the Juvenile Justice System. Some of these individuals are Judge Elizabeth McCain, Judge Jere Ledsinger and Judge Betty Adams Green.

Regional coordination with three grand division coordinators and nine regional coordinators became a permanent part in the organization in the mid 1980’s. In 1990, a significant step was taken when TJCSA approved a basic curriculum for training court staff across the state. The first training program under the direction of TJCSA was held in 1990.

Lastly, the Association would not have become a reality without the support and encouragement from Judges across the state. We are especially indebted to:

  • The Honorable Richard F. Douglass (Dec.), Knox County
  • The Honorable Care E. Garrett (Dec.), Knox County
  • The Honorable Walter Baker Harris, Madison County
  • The Honorable Richard Jenkins (Ret.), Davidson County
  • The Honorable Dixie Smith (Ret.), Hamilton County
  • The Honorable Kenneth A. Turner, Shelby County
  • The Honorable Andy Shookhoff, Davidson County
  • The Honorable Suzanne Bailey, Hamilton County
  • The Honorable Betty Adams Green, Davidson County

We, as a professional association, are continuing to grow due to the strong support from all of our outstanding judges.

TJCSA Past Presidents

TJCSA Retirees