The Juvenile Justice Association of Texas was established October, 1999. Its goal is to promote advocacy for Texas children by providing quality Juvenile Services. In the fall of 1999 approximately 1500 surveys were mailed randomly to various Juvenile Justice Professionals across the State to evaluate the need and interest in a new Association. An Initial meeting was held during which time the surveys were tallied and reviewed by the work group. It was found that the majority of the surveys reflected an overwhelming interest in the formation of a Juvenile Justice Association. Focus then turned to a purpose and plan of action. The development of by-laws, membership criteria and organizational structure was completed that same year. In December, 1999, our interim Board of Directors was chosen by the work group. Amador Rodriguez (Cameron County) accepted the nomination of President, Estela Medina (Travis County), Vice President, and Debra Byler (Fayette County), Treasurer. Timelines were scheduled for membership drive, recruitment, establishing non-profit status and completion of by-laws.
In January, 2000, the organization began with approximately 40 members. In February, 2000, the first official Board of Director/General Assembly membership meeting was held in Corpus Christi, TX. In October 2000, the 1st Annual JJAT/TJDA Co-Conference was held in San Antonio, Texas. The first award was presented at the luncheon on Tuesday, October 17. The Amador R. Rodriquez Award was presented to Elva Chapman of Ellis County and Estela Medina of Travis County for their great work in the Juvenile Justice field.
Currently JJAT holds bi-annual conferences around the state with the primary focus of serving professionals in the juvenile justice field.