Judge Cindy Lederman spent more than a decade as the presiding judge of Miami's Juvenile Court. A pioneer in the field, her innovation and creativity have been the catalysts for a number of court-driven initiatives and programs that have improved the lives of children and families who are involved with the juvenile court.
Before her elevation to Circuit Court in 1994, she was a leader of the team that created the Dade County Domestic Violence Court and served as the court’s first Presiding Judge. Judge Lederman was a member of the National Research Council’s Committee on Family Violence Interventions, and has served from 1996 to 2004 on the Board of Children, Youth and Families of the National Research Council and Institute of Medicine. She also served on the National Research Council’s Juvenile Crime Panel.
In 1999, Judge Lederman was awarded a Fellowship from Zero to Three: The National Center for Infants, Toddlers and Families in their Leaders of the 21st Century Initiative. The Council of State Governments has awarded Judge Lederman a 2002 Toll Fellowship. Judge Lederman is a member of the Board of Trustees of the National Council of Juvenile and Family Court Judges. Judge Lederman serves on the American Academy of Pediatrics Task Force on Foster Care and is a member of the Healthy Foster Care America initiative.
Judge Lederman and the late Susan Schechter conceived of the original idea for the Dependency Court Intervention Program for Family Violence, a national demonstration project in Judge Lederman’s courtroom from 1997 to 2003 funded by the U.S. Department of Justice, Violence Against Women Grants Office. This court based intervention project involved the first study of co-occurrence of family violence and child maltreatment in a dependency court setting. Judge Lederman is a co-creator of the Miami Safe Start Initiative, a grant funded by the U.S. Department of Justice, Office of Juvenile Justice Delinquency Prevention, involving a community collaboration to prevent exposure to violence for children under the age of six.
That project has resulted in the opening of the country’s first Early Head Start facility for maltreated children directly referred from Judge Lederman’s court and the creation of the Consortium for Children in Crisis, a collaborative effort with the University of Miami Linda Ray Intervention Center on behalf of at risk young children in the Miami-Dade community. In 2000, 2001 and 2002, the Florida Legislature designated Judge Lederman’s court as an Infant and Young Children’s Mental Health Pilot Site. This work with maltreated infants and toddlers has resulted in the Miami-Dade Juvenile Court Early Childhood Initiative which has been replicated in 5 sites in the United States with Congressional funding and formed the basis for the national Court Teams for Change Project operated by Zero to Three.
This work was the subject of a 12 minute NPR broadcast on “All Things Considered” in March 2003 and a segment on Good Morning America in 2007. In 2006, Judge Lederman was recognized as one of “The Leading 500 Judges in America” by Lawdragon.com, a leading source of legal news and the publisher of several directories listing outstanding attorneys in the United States.