Hall County Chief Juvenile Court Cliff Jolliff on Tuesday night received the Gainesville Kiwanis Club’s annual Youth Service Award.
The presentation took place during a banquet at the Chattahoochee Country Club in Gainesville.
Gainesville lawyer Eddie Hartness presented the award to Jolliff, who has served full time in his post since 1992.
“His concern is not just for the children, but for their parents and their families, because he realizes that those two are inextricably linked together if there’s going to be success,” Hartness said in announcing Jolliff as the winner.
“He has dedicated his career to make sure that none of them slip through the cracks.”
He also said that Jolliff “has chosen to deal with children, parents and families who are often forgotten and shunned in normal society.
“His cause is the children who are suffering abuse, neglect, delinquency and drug-related problems.”
“Thank you so much. This is extremely humbling coming from this group of people in this club and the work this club does,” Jolliff said after Hartness handed him the award.
“I love my work and it wouldn’t happen without a community like ours.”
Jolliff, a Florida native, has lived in Gainesville since 1980.
Practicing law in Gainesville, he became Hall County’s part-time Juvenile Court judge in December 1990, according to the Hall County government’s Web site.
He is a former president of the Georgia Council of Juvenile Court Judges and a six-year member of the agency’s executive committee.
Jolliff also has served on numerous community boards and committees.
In early 2005, he began planning a new Family Treatment Court, a specialized accountability court that requires drug and alcohol-addicted parents to prove they are straightening out their lives before they are allowed to live under the same roof with their children again.
The court coordinates the efforts of treatment providers, child advocates and state social services with the goal of reunifying families.
Hartness quoted one of the participants as saying that the court “saved my life. I would be dead, and my children would have no one if I had not joined this program.”
“Not having been blessed with children of his own, (Jolliff) has adopted those that are the most vulnerable — the deprived, the neglected, the abused and the troubled, one child at a time, with none being turned away,” Hartness said.
“In the final analysis, isn’t that the very face of youth service?”