An elected circuit judge in the 17th Judicial Circuit Court of Florida, Judge John Bowman handles adoption and foster care matters within the Juvenile Dependency Division of Broward County. Judge John Bowman also contributes to local legal organizations and is invited to speak on different topics to various groups, including the American Board of Trial Advocates.
Among its many initiatives, the American Board of Trial Advocates maintains the Civility Matters program to fulfill its constitutional mandate to promote courtesy, honor, and integrity in the legal field. The Board founded the program with the goal that civility would be discussed at every law school in the country and at every Trial Advocates educational event, as well as in various professional settings.
Around the nation, local chapters of the American Board of Trial Advocates promote and host Civility Matters events that include direct accounts from members about their experience practicing courtesy, honor, and integrity and raising peer awareness of the issue. The American Board of Trial Advocates provides helpful guidelines and the resources necessary to hold a Civility Matters event, including the Why Civility and Why Now? publication and accompanying DVDs.
Judge John Bowman serves as a circuit judge in the state of Florida. After noting several failures and inefficiencies in Florida’s juvenile detention and foster care systems, Judge John Bowman initiated several programs to help improve care for Florida’s youth. One such program is National Adoption Day, which he brought to Broward and other Florida counties.
National Adoption Day raises awareness of the many children in the American foster care system who need loving, permanent homes. More than 100,000 children across the country are waiting to be adopted. National Adoption Day helps make their dreams come true.
Responding to overwhelming need, lawmakers, advocates, and charities came together to create the holiday in 2000. Communities celebrate the special nature of adoption together through fundraisers, letter-writing drives, and public awareness campaigns. The festivities culminate in the finalization of many adoptions all over the country.
National Adoption Day is celebrated the Saturday before Thanksgiving each year. The 2015 event helped more than 4,000 children find homes, bringing the total number of adoptions to more than 58,500 since National Adoption Day was founded.
In 2016, the annual event will be held on November 19. People who wish to support National Adoption Day can get involved online at www.nationaladoptionday.org/get-involved.
Judge John Bowman is a circuit judge and an advocate for underserved children in Florida. He works especially hard to support children in Florida’s foster care system. Early in his career, Judge John Bowman helped 145 orphaned young people find homes.
In the state of Florida, people who would like to adopt a foster child work through ChildNet, the state child welfare agency. Interested individuals and couples can attend open-house orientation sessions, held on the third Thursday of each month in Fort Lauderdale and the third Tuesday of each month in West Palm Beach.
After an orientation, prospective parents attend pre-service training classes. These classes introduce parents to Florida’s child welfare program and help them understand how to care for an adopted child. During this time, a home study and a thorough background check are also conducted.
Once approved, parents attend matching events, where they meet children who need homes. When they meet a child or group of siblings they want to include in their family, parents notify their counselor to move forward.
Children are initially placed with their new family for a trial period of no less than 90 days. A counselor visits monthly to assess the situation and see how everyone is adjusting. If all goes well, the adoption will be finalized in front of a judge, and the child will legally become a family member.
In his 14 years on the bench, Judge John Bowman of Florida’s 17th Circuit Court has seen how delays in the judicial process adversely affect children that juvenile dependency courts are intended to help. Judge John Bowman has made it his mission to increase docket efficiency in Florida’s courts and has achieved that through process change and technological innovation.
A change in process to increase docket efficiency means changing docketing methods from a commonly used “cattle call” docket to block time docketing, time-certain docketing, and a combination of block time and time certain-docketing, the National Child Resource Center on Legal and Judicial Issues website says.
Cattle call dockets are lists of cases that a court clerk assigns to morning or afternoon court sessions. This docketing method can result in long wait times for children, families, social workers, and attorneys before cases can be heard.
Block time docketing decreases wait times by assigning groups of hearings to blocks of time, dedicating each time block to a specific type of hearing, and scheduling participating parties to be present when the block starts. Participating parties need only wait until their hearing within the time block, rather than all morning or all afternoon.
Time-certain docketing increases docket efficiency by using standard hearing times based on averages calculated by the court. This method provides better scheduling accuracy and thus greater efficiency than block time docketing. Combining block time and time-certain docketing makes best use of both methods to allow greater flexibility in scheduling options.
Technological innovation involves using information technology to track multiple cases for the same families across various court divisions. Judge Bowman pushed for the judicial tracking system now in place in Florida's 17th Circuit Court.
Judge John Bowman of Florida’s 17th Circuit Court has a long-standing interest in child welfare and particularly in child adoption. Earlier in his judicial career, Judge John Bowman reduced the number of children awaiting adoption in his division from 150 to five and promoted adoptions through media appearances and participation in National Adoption Day.
National Adoption Day is an annual event held in November to raise awareness about the thousands of children in U.S. foster care awaiting permanent placement with adoptive families. The National Adoption Day Coalition sponsors the event, which takes place in communities across the country.
The coalition consists of the Dave Thomas Foundation for Adoption, the Congressional Coalition on Adoption Institute, The Alliance for Children’s Rights, and the Children’s Action Network. The coalition provides resources for National Adoption Day on its website at www.nationaladoptionday.org.
• At-a-glance statistics about the number of children in foster care, the average wait time for a foster child to be adopted, and the number of children who age out of foster care annually.
• A step-by-step guide to adoption and links to additional information provided by coalition partners and other similar organizations.
• Access to volunteer, advocacy, and event-planning opportunities.
• Downloadable toolkits, including logos, brand assets, public service announcements, key messages, and fact sheets.
This year’s National Adoption Day is slated for November 21, although different communities may hold the event on other days. National Adoption Day facts and figures say that more than 400,000 children are in foster care in the United States and of these, more than 100,000 await adoption. The fact sheet says that on average, children wait nearly four years to be adopted and that 13 percent wait five or more years. The fact sheet says that more than 22,000 children reach age 18 without ever leaving foster care.
National Adoption Day
Judge John Bowman has implemented positive reforms to adoption mandates and helped streamline the judicial process as a judge in the 17th Judicial Circuit Court of Florida. Outside of the courtroom, Judge John Bowman works to raise adoption awareness through public speaking engagements and his participation in National Adoption Day.
Now in its 15th year, National Adoption Day is an annual event intended to raise the public’s awareness of the foster care system’s more than 100,000 children currently waiting to be placed with loving adoptive families. National Adoption Day is celebrated by policymakers, practitioners, adoption advocates, adoptive families, and the general public every Saturday before Thanksgiving at events in communities across the United States.
On November 22, 2014, individuals in 400 U.S. cities participated in National Adoption Day events, and 4,500 children around the country were adopted by their forever families. Since it was first launched in 2000, National Adoption Day has helped over 54,000 children move out of foster care and into permanent homes.
Judge John Bowman, a circuit judge for the Seventeenth Judicial Circuit for Florida, has been an advocate for streamlining procedures in the state's juvenile courts. In addition to public service, Judge John Bowman also participates in the advancement of his profession by lecturing at such organizations as the American Board of Trial Advocates (ABOTA).
Located in Dallas, Texas, the ABOTA seeks to protect the right to a jury trial, as guaranteed in the Bill of Rights. Achieving this goal includes promoting the concept among trial lawyers before they enter practice.
For the past few years, ABOTA has sponsored the National Trial College for third- and fourth-year students. Using a mock courtroom, experienced judges and lawyers provided thorough instruction in preparing for trials, designing solid opening statements, and delivering strong closing arguments.
After four days of in-depth coaching, students staged a mock trial in the presence of a jury. After their presentation, they watched the jury arrive at its decision. Faculty members evaluated the students on their courtroom performance. A graduation ceremony followed on the final evening.
Judge John Bowman, a circuit justice in Florida's 17th circuit, has received widespread attention as an advocate for children in foster care. Successfully reducing the number of adoption-eligible children in the Circuit's Juvenile Dependency division from 150 to only five, Judge John Bowman has continued to promote adoption and received the Guardian Ad Litem Program's community advocate award for his efforts.
For a child to be eligible for adoption in Florida, the birth mother and any other person entitled to custody must agree to the adoption. Any court-verified evidence of abuse or neglect automatically waives this requirement. Once the court has terminated parental rights, adoptive parents may finalize the adoption after 30 days or following 90 days in the adoptive home, whichever occurs later.
Once finalized, adoption means that the child in question becomes a legal part of the new family. The child receives a new birth certificate that names the adoptive parents as the child's parents, and most children receive a new name to reflect their new family situation. The adoptive family accepts all parental responsibilities for the child and gives the child equal legal status in relation to other current or future children of the family.
Employed as the circuit judge for the state of Florida since 2002, Judge John Bowman earned the 2007 Community Advocate of the Year honors for his service. Recently Judge John Bowman was re-appointed to the Florida Supreme Court's Bar Admissions Committee. When he first began on the bench, Judge Bowman worked on the Juvenile Dependency division, which spurred him to support the National Adoption Day Coalition.
The group, which created the One Day Project, promotes a national effort to raise awareness of the more than 100,000 children in foster care. It also brings attention to the policymakers and practitioners who finalize adoptions. Featured each year on the Saturday before Thanksgiving, National Adoption Day honors those families who do adopt children from these foster homes. Since National Adoption Day began in 2000, almost 45,000 children have been adopted from foster care.
On November 22, 2013, National Adoption Day featured more than 400 events in cities across the country. The coalition encourages businesses, faith-based organizations, and volunteers to promote the next National Adoption Day, scheduled for November 23, 2014, and help find homes for these children.
As a lifelong Florida resident, Judge John Bowman has served as an associate judge for the Florida Fourth District Court of Appeal. Judge John Bowman began his career on the circuit court in 2002 when he accepted assignment into the juvenile department division. When he joined the bench, Judge Bowman brought with him more than 20 years of community service. One organization he assisted was One Community Partnership. Created as a six-year project from 2002-2008, and used to evaluate the children's mental health care in Broward County, Florida, One Community Partnership was funded through the Substance Abuse Mental Health Services Administration and The Center for Mental Health Services.
The partnership began when the 2000 U.S. Census revealed that with more than 400,000 children under the age of 18 in Broward County, one in ten was affected by a serious emotional disturbance, according to experts. Through its endeavors, the partnership created a network of community-based services to support the needs of youth and children who experience serious mental health issues. Public and private institutions worked together with these individuals to address linguistic and cultural needs. This allowed families and children to function well in their home life, schools, and community.
Judge John Bowman has accumulated a long record of helping streamline the judicial system to benefit children.