380 West Second St.
Dayton, OH 45422
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Judge Helen Wallace is the first woman elected to serve as a Montgomery County Juvenile Court Judge. Judge Wallace is committed to keeping our community safe and protecting children and families. She strongly believes all people deserve an equal and fair start in life. Prior to being elected, Judge Wallace worked as a prosecutor, defense attorney, guardian ad litem, family law and civil litigation attorney for nearly twenty (20) years. Judge Wallace earned her law degree from George Washington University Law School after obtaining a bachelor’s degree in International Affairs from the University of Cincinnati and attending Walnut Hills High School in Cincinnati, Ohio. While obtaining her education, Judge Wallace interned for the United States Department of Justice, the Ohio Attorney General’s Office, the Cincinnati Public Defender’s Office and United States Senator John Glenn’s Office. Judge Wallace is a proud mother to two teenagers and a wife to her husband of over 20 years.
Research shows that chronic absence from school correlates with lower grades, dropping out of high school, and trouble with the law. Many barriers, such as lack of transportation, unstable housing, substance abuse, and mental health issues prevent children from attending school. To address these barriers and needs, Judge Wallace restructured the Court’s School Absentee dockets and founded the Court’s Education Unit. The Education Unit front-loads services to meet the needs of our children and families through a multi-disciplinary collaboration with community partners.
Judge Wallace believes all people learn differently. She secured the H.E.L. P. (Helping Everyone Learn Program) grant from the Ohio Supreme Court to take a unique, innovative approach to better understand the needs of a child. The grant funds neuropsychological evaluations on youth before the Court. These evaluations give great insights on behavioral issues and overall brain development. Once issues are identified, the Court works to implement interventions to remediate and teach youth through cognitive behavior instruction and education that is tailored to their needs. Judge Wallace believes this approach will increase success in teaching children and reduce recidivism.
Judge Wallace believes in using technology to improve and modernize the Courts. Judge Wallace advocated for a new Court website and text messaging capability and achieved both.
Judge Wallace oversees young adults transitioning from Children Service’s custody to independence. Judge Wallace works with the State of Ohio’s Bridges Program and Children Service’s to ensure that transition plans have been executed for each young adult and that the young adult understands and knows about all the resources available to them.
Judge Wallace has partnered with the Children’s Defense Fund of Ohio to run a Safe Baby Court. The purpose of the docket is to keep parents and babies exposed to violence and opiates unified safely through community partners and resources. Funding was provided by a State Expansion Grant from Zero to Three, a national organization involved in strong early childhood development programs.
Judge Wallace created Book Nooks all around the courthouse to promote reading. The Book Nooks provide free books (donated by the community) to all families that enter the Court.
Judge Wallace authored Diversity, Equity and Inclusion in Juvenile Court (Dayton Bar Briefs, April 2020) (please see link below). Judge Wallace is the immediate past co-Chair of the Juvenile Law section for the Dayton Bar Association (having served as Chair twice).
Judge Wallace loves to learn and grow and strives to consistently improve herself and the Court for the public it serves.
Montgomery County Juvenile Court
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