By John McGreevy, TJJD Communications
Kaci Singer is the Deputy General Counsel for County Matters for the Texas Juvenile Justice Department, and when she tells you her job comes with many different tasks and responsibilities, she isn’t kidding.
“I answer all the questions for the Legal Help Desk,” she said. “That’s where anyone in the juvenile justice community, including the public, can send juvenile-related questions and we give them technical advice. We do not give legal advice. I’m also the supervisor of the Policy Division, so I supervise the people who do all of the policy for the agency and standards development.”
Singer also trains the new attorneys working at TJJD and handles hearings and appeals.
We told you she wasn’t kidding. But that’s also her favorite thing about her job. “I get to do so many things and I get to make decisions that have an impact on the kids and the people working with them and provide services to them,” she said.
Singer began her career in juvenile justice in 2001, most of which has been at TJJD and before that at the Texas Youth Commission and Texas Juvenile Probation Commission. She’s a graduate of Baylor University and the University of Texas School of Law, a former chair of the Juvenile Law Section of the State Bar of Texas and of the Jury Service Committee of the State Bar of Texas. She is a member of the board of the Juvenile Law Foundation, a non-profit entity that provides educational scholarships to justice-involved individuals.
In an age where people wind up with the careers they have through any number of unexpected turns, Singer is exactly where she wanted to be. “I went to law school wanting to do juvenile justice and I was able to come out of law school getting to do that,” she said.
“I’ve loved being part of legislative work groups and working on legislative changes that were needed. I loved working on the juvenile records redesign in 2017, getting to be a part of redesigning the laws of juvenile records and giving greater protection to the kids than they had before.”
“I wish the public knew what a support system we (TJJD) are for the juvenile justice field,” she said. “While some of us are not in the trenches, day to day, the support we provide to the people who are helps them be better able to help the kids.”
Between a job like hers and being the mother of two children, free time isn’t something she has a lot of, but she described an ideal day off as “being able to get together with my friends for brunch, just getting to hang out and have no responsibilities at all – as opposed to a realistic day off, which is just running errands.”