Hon. John Specia, Jr., Jurist in Residence
Judge John J. Specia, Jr. (Ret.) serves as the JCMH Jurist in Residence (JIR). John Specia’s life-long dedication for more than three decades to public service includes work in civil, family, and juvenile programs with a special commitment to children and the prevention of child abuse. He provided leadership in establishing the Texas Supreme Court Children's Commission and forming Child Protection Courts throughout the state. Judge Special further brought his experience and vision to the Texas judiciary as the first Jurist in Residence with the Children's Commission in 2009.
Judge Specia established both the Bexar County Children's Court, which provides specialized services for children and also the Family Drug Treatment Court, which handled Child Protective Services cases and became a model for the state. He was vice-chair of the Supreme Court's Permanent Judicial Commission for Children, Youth, and Families and chair of the Supreme Court Task Force on Foster Care.
Judge Specia served as District Judge of the 225th District Court in San Antonio and was the administrative judge for Bexar County district courts. He also served as Master of the 289th Family and Juvenile District Court. In 2012 Governor Rick Perry appointed Judge Specia as Commissioner of the Texas Department of Family and Protective Services and served in that capacity until May 2016. Judge Specia spearheaded an overhaul of Child Protective services, developed system enhancements, and significantly expanded the child abuse and neglect prevention and early intervention program. Under his leadership, Texas became a national leader in child welfare transformation efforts and research into child abuse and neglect fatalities.