Our Founding President & CEO

Our Founding President & CEO, Justice Bobbe Bridge, (Ret.) 

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Justice Bobbe J. Bridge (ret.), is the Founding President & CEO of the Center for Children & Youth Justice (CCYJ).  CCYJ was established in February 2006 by Justice Bridge and her husband, Jon. Justice Bridge retired from CCYJ in December 2018, and Rachel Sottile succeeded her as President & CEO upon her retirement. Justice Bridge is relentless in her pursuit of just and equitable systems for Washington’s youth, and forever a part of the fabric of CCYJ.

The Honorable Bobbe J. Bridge was appointed to the Washington State Supreme Court by Governor Locke in 1999.  She was elected in 2000 and again in 2002.  Before serving on the Supreme Court, Justice Bridge served as a King County Superior Court judge for ten years and as Presiding Judge of the 51-member Court for two years.  She was the Chief Judge of King County Juvenile Court from 1994 to 1997 and the President of the Superior Court Judges’ Association in 1999.  Before joining the bench, Justice Bridge was the first female partner at the law firm of Garvey Schubert Barer.  Throughout her judicial career, Justice Bridge has been active in efforts to improve the administration of justice for children and families. 

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She served as co-chair for the Supreme Court Commission on Children in Foster Care, whose mission is to establish safe, permanent families for all children in foster care. She chaired the Domestic Violence/Child Maltreatment Statewide Protocol Project, and chaired the State Becca Task Force, which focuses on truancy prevention.  Justice Bridge led the Select Committee on Adolescents in Need of Long Term Placement, to help the State better respond to unique needs of children who are simultaneously involved in the juvenile justice, child welfare, and related systems. She served as a member of the Executive Board of Catalyst for Kids, a coalition of child advocates, courts, and community service providers working to improve services to children in foster care.  Justice Bridge was instrumental in the introduction of Unified Family Court to King County and has worked to expand its use to other courts.  Also in King County, she led the creation of the Juvenile Justice Operational Master Plan, which effected significant changes in juvenile offender court practices and services, reduced the number of kids in detention, and eliminated the need for a new secure juvenile facility without sacrificing public safety. Under her leadership, King County’s Juvenile Drug Court was established, and she chaired the Oversight Committee for the Parents Representation Project, improving representation for parents in child abuse and neglect cases.  During her term as the Presiding Judge of the King County Superior Court, Justice Bridge helped establish a child care facility at the Regional Justice Center in Kent.  It is the first court-based child care center in the Pacific Northwest, allowing parents and guardians with business before the court to leave young children, who would otherwise have to wait in hallways or courtrooms, in a safe environment. 

For nearly twenty years, Justice Bridge has served on a host of committees, commissions, and work groups advising the Governor, the Legislature, and the Department of Social and Health Services on issues relating to children and families.  Justice Bridge is our Founder, and Founding President & CEO of the Center for Children & Youth Justice.  CCYJ supports parents, advocates, judges, legislators, policymakers, and professionals to shape a brighter future for youth involved in Washington’s child welfare and juvenile justice systems by sponsoring research, targeting grant funding toward evidence-based programs, developing partnerships, and providing training and education.  Justice Bridge also served as the Past Chair of the Board for YouthCare, an organization dedicated to educating, employing, and empowering Seattle’s vulnerable homeless youth and the Steering Committee for Reinvesting in Youth. Justice Bridge chaired as well the University of Washington NEW Leadership Puget Sound Advisory Committee, which provides training for young women to become leaders in their communities.  At the University of Washington Law School, she and her husband Jon have established a Professorship in Child Advocacy.  She has served and continues to serve on many nonprofit Board including the board of the Seattle Children’s Home, the WA State Bar Association Leadership Institute, CRU Institute, YWCA, and on the Advisory Boards for CASA START, Seattle Girls’ School and the Women’s Funding Alliance, among many others.

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Justice Bridge has received numerous awards both as a judge and as an advocate for Washington’s children.  In 2009, she and her husband, Jon Bridge, were awarded the Strategies for Youth Award by the Washington State Lieutenant Governor and were both inducted into the Washington Generals for their special service and support of children in foster care, juvenile justice and education.  The National Center for State Courts (NCSC) inducted Justice Bridge into the Warren E. Burger Society in 2008 which honors individuals who have demonstrated an exemplary commitment to improving the administration of justice through extraordinary contributions of service and support to the NCSC. Also in 2008, she was awarded with the Governor’s Juvenile Justice Advisory Committee Award in recognition of service to children and families in Washington State; the King County Prosecuting Attorney’s Office Award in recognition of dedication to youth in King County and the Norm Maleng Honoree Award for outstanding work and leadership in support of justice for children and youth. In honor of their lifelong commitment to community service, Justice Bridge and her husband, Jon, were jointly awarded the 2006 Isabel Colman Pierce Award for Excellence in Community Service by the YWCA of Seattle-King-Snohomish County.  Her long list of other awards include the 2007 Passing the Torch Award from the Washington Women Lawyers, the 2007 Seattle Civil Rights Champion Award from Lambda Legal, the 2003 David W. Soukoup “Speak Up for a Child” Award from the Washington State Association of Court Appointed Special Advocates and Guardians ad Litem, the 2001 Distinguished Alumna Award from the University of Washington School of Law, the 2001 Jurist of the Year Award from the Washington State Bar Association Family Law Section, and the 1999 Judge of the Year Award from the King County Bar Association, Crosscut Courage’s 2019 David Brewster Lifetime Achievement Award and CCYJ’s 2023 Norm Maleng Advocate for Youth Award.