PHOENIX (June 15, 2023) – The fourth-largest trial court system in the nation was recently recognized with eight National Association of Counties (NACo) Achievement Awards. The recognitions demonstrate how innovative ideas often translate to the development of new programs and improved practices to better serve the public.

“We are grateful to NACo for this recognition and for shining a spotlight on these outstanding new programs,” said Judicial Branch Presiding Judge Joseph C. Welty. “We hope courts around the country are able to implement and improve upon these innovative ideas.”


Juvenile Expedited Permanency Process

Category: Children and Youth

This year, the Maricopa County Juvenile Court won an award for its expedited permanency process, which is helping children be connected to a permanent family that can provide the support system they need to succeed.

The Expedited Permanency Process is a targeted approach that intensifies urgency and accountability for children in out-of-home foster care for an extended period due to prolonged child welfare cases. The goal of the Expedited Permanency Process is to safely expedite permanency for these children.

“We appreciate the recognition of the Expedited Permanency Program. We believe it has and will continue to make an impact in the lives and futures of vulnerable children,” said Deputy Court Administrator Cheri Clark. 


Growth Journey Platform – Where learning science, technology, and juvenile justice intersect

Category: Children and Youth

Maricopa County Juvenile Probation has partnered with the Arizona State University Center for Games and Impact/Life Labs Studios to advance meaningful opportunities for learning and growth through an innovative, dynamic and mobile platform ( is an interactive growth platform designed to give youth a voice, identify areas of struggle, support case management, enhance protective factors, and promote positive change toward recidivism reduction.


Maricopa County Juvenile Probation Department Detention Collaborative Tutoring Program

Category: Children and Youth

The Detention Tutoring Program provides supplemental academic support to youth who are working towards earning high school credits and obtaining their GED during their time in secure care with Maricopa County Juvenile Probation. The Tutoring Program is made possible through the partnership Juvenile Probation has fostered with Arizona State University’s Youth Justice Lab and the Maricopa County Regional School District. Twice a week, volunteer students from ASU come to Juvenile Detention at the Durango facility and work with youth to deliver high-quality tutoring in a supportive learning environment.


Strength Supervision Unit

Category: Children and Youth

Youth coming before the Court are initially assessed by Probation Officers and identified as victims of sex trafficking using the Sex Trafficking Screening Tool. The acronym STRENGTH stands for Succeed Through Resilience Empower New Growth Through Hope. In April 2021, the Maricopa County Juvenile Probation Department created a specialized Strength Probation Officer position to support youth who are suspected/identified victims of sex trafficking. In August 2022, due to the increasing number of identified trafficking victims, a specialized probation supervision unit was formed. The Strength Unit supervises the identified youth throughout their probation term, regardless of their placement within the state of Arizona.

“This recognition is the direct result of the commitment and relentless pursuit to identify new and meaningful approaches toward behavioral change and public safety while holding youth accountable,” said Chief Juvenile Probation Officer Eric Meaux. “These innovations and improved practices target specific challenges and needs faced by our youth. This recognition would not be possible without the men and women of the Juvenile Probation Department, and these awards go directly to them.”

The Maricopa County Adult Probation Department was recognized with three NACo Achievement Awards in different categories this year.  


Continuous Improvement Program

Category: County Administration and Management

The Maricopa County Adult Probation Department’s employees provided survey feedback that offered recommendations for improvement and suggested the department can improve in the areas of innovation, influence and transparency of changes occurring within the agency. In December 2020, Adult Probation leadership authorized the creation of the Continuous Improvement Program. The CI team who led the program and trained in CI best practices developed a formal mechanism for staff to submit ideas for process improvement within the department. The program also established time standards, assignments and standard procedures for investigating, exploring and implementing improvements. The CI Program has successfully resulted in cost savings, increased efficiencies, and has fostered a culture that encourages feedback and recognizes the value of staff in leading the organization in becoming more adaptive, collaborative and innovative in its service.


Interstate Compact and Out-of-County Sex Offender Caseloads

Category: Criminal Justice and Public Safety

The Maricopa County Adult Probation Department’s Interstate Compact Unit tracks and processes transfers for individuals sentenced to probation in Maricopa County but request to transfer or have transferred their probation grant and conditions out of county or to another jurisdiction for supervision. In November 2020, the MCAPD established the Interstate Compact and Out-of-County Sex Offender Program. This new program combines the access and resources of the Interstate Compact Unit with the expertise of the department’s Sex Offender Division, to assume overview of the approximately 400 outgoing probation cases with sex offenses. The program improved the processing of outgoing cases, developed standards for obtaining progress reports, and addresses high-risk behaviors with other jurisdictions.


Jail Transports and Booking Program

Category: County Administration and Management

The Maricopa County Adult Probation Department’s Fugitive Apprehension Unit created a specialized Jail Transports and Booking Program that assigned teams of probation and surveillance officers to handle all jail transports and bookings for the entire department. As the Fugitive Apprehension Unit is a specialized team with extensive expertise and knowledge in the arrest and booking process, these officers were best equipped to take on this new program. The unit created the secure and efficient Jail Transports and Booking Program to handle arrests, transports and bookings, relieving the 800 field probation officers of this duty, allowing them to instead focus on supervision and recidivism reduction.

“The Adult Probation Department is honored to have been selected for these awards as the innovative work reflected demonstrates the department’s commitment to enhancing community safety, through service, accountability and influencing change,” said Chief Adult Probation Officer Michael Cimino.

The Judicial Branch’s Training Department won a NACo Achievement Award for creating an innovative program to provide supervisors with the tools needed in their new roles.


EMBARK: Essential Managerial Basics and Resources Kit

Category: Personnel Management, Employment and Training

The Maricopa County Judicial Branch developed a new supervisor training program to equip managers and supervisors with the introductory and foundational tools needed to navigate the challenges of day-to-day personnel supervision. The program includes specific coursework on various supervisory topics including hiring, leave management, payroll, discrimination and harassment, understanding federal employment laws (such as FMLA and ADA), mentoring and coaching, progressive discipline, and performance feedback/evaluation.

“We are grateful to receive this award. A lot of people went into the making of this program,” said Internal Communication and Education Director Cindy Reid. “Our hope is that we arm our supervisors and managers with the tools to not only succeed but to make them better leaders for the organization and better stewards in serving our community.”


For more information on these awards, visit: NACo Awards Program Search.