Jul 6, 2015

Judge Cranfill recognized for work on behalf of children and families

Fifth Judicial District Court Judge Steven Cranfill of Cody has been honored for his “extraordinary commitment to Wyoming children and families involved in the court system.”

Wyoming Supreme Court officials presented Cranfill with the 2015 Children’s Justice Project Golden Award on June 25.

District Court Judge Steven Cranfill
A Thursday news release from the Supreme Court said Cranfill earned the award in part by “exhibiting a high level of ethics, respect for children and families and for promoting cooperation among individuals working in the child welfare system.”

In addition to civil and criminal matters, Judge Cranfill presides over cases of delinquency, abuse and neglect and children in need of supervision in Park and Big Horn counties.

“He is a leader among Wyoming district court judges in the juvenile justice arena and in recent years has helped bring greater awareness to the importance of expedited permanency for children involved in Wyoming’s juvenile court system,” the Supreme Court release said.

Ellen Klym is the executive director of Court Appointed Special Advocates of the Fifth Judicial District, a non-profit organization that recruits and trains volunteers to advocate for children involved in juvenile and domestic abuse and neglect cases. Klym said in an interview that Cranfill deserved the honor.

“Every time in the courtroom, he always says, ‘Now what is in the best interests of the child?’ and that is his focus in the juvenile cases,” Klym said. “And I’ve never seen him waver on that.”

Klym said Cranfill was instrumental in getting the special advocates program started in the area, seeing the need for children to have a greater voice in the judicial process.

“Every time in the courtroom, (Judge Cranfill) always says, ‘Now what is in the best interests of the child?’” said Ellen Klym, an advocate for abused and neglected children.

On behalf of the Supreme Court, Chief Justice Burke thanked Cranfill “for his important contributions to promoting and advancing the field of child welfare law.”

Cranfill said he was honored by the recognition.

“Kids deserve the chance to be kids,” the judge said in a statement. “I am grateful to play a small part in that process.”

A Worland native, Cranfill was appointed to the district court bench in 2006. He’s been retained by voters two times since then. Cranfill currently serves as the president of the Wyoming District Court Judges Conference.

The Wyoming Supreme Court Children’s Justice Project’s Golden Award is presented each year at the statewide Children’s Justice Conference. It recognizes a leading practitioner in the field of child welfare.

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