Martina L. Peterson was selected in December as family court commissioner for the Jackson County Circuit Court. She was sworn in on Jan. 2.

Martina L. Peterson was selected in December as family court commissioner for the Jackson County Circuit Court. She was sworn in on Jan. 2.

1 What does your job entail as family court commissioner?
There’s three different areas I focus on. One is delinquencies of juveniles under the age of 17 who are charged with committing a law violation. I hear trials on whether or not they committed the crime beyond a reasonable doubt. If they have, I determine whether they need to be in a residential program for treatment or placed on probation. The other area I focus on is abuse and neglect cases. The third area, the really rewarding one, is adoption cases.

2 What is your background in the legal profession and working with children?
I have worked for 13 years with the state public defender’s office. I’ve been on the board of directors for the Kansas City Youth Court for the last 14 years. I was the director of the Kansas City Youth Court before that. I currently work with the Young Achievers program at the YMCA.

3 Why did you want this job?
I have been working with children and youth for years. I’ve always had an interest in kids to give them the opportunity for a better life.

4 How do you like the job so far?
It’s been great. I’ve had an opportunity to impact the lives of kids, trying to give guidance and services to help families stay together.

5 In what ways can the family court commissioner prevent or decrease cases of child abuse?
Normally, they (cases) come into the system when there is an allegation. We can try to prevent future child abuse by putting services in the home like counseling, therapy, drug treatment. Sometimes there’s mental health issues. We can provide some of those services to the families to get through some of those rough times. We can impact it once we’ve been notified of the problem and prevent it from happening in the future.

- Michael Glover