Hon. Hope Bristol bio

Hon. Hope Bristol bio

Judge Bristol was elected to the bench in the 17th Judicial Circuit in 2005 and was assigned to the Unified Family Division/Dependency Division.  She was the Chairperson of the Dependency Division for over 8 years.  She is currently the Administrative Judge for all of the Unified Family Court Divisions.  She created and presides over an Early Childhood Court division in her Circuit which has been very successful as well as the Dependency Drug Court division.

She began her career as an Assistant State Attorney in Broward County where she worked for ten years.  She was assigned to the Sex Crimes/Child Abuse Unit for the majority of her time in that office.   Prior to being elected to the bench, Judge Bristol had a private family law practice for five years. 

Judge Bristol has been involved in the CFLA Committee of Broward County as well as the Sun Serve Task Force for the LGBTQ Youth Committee.   She has been instrumental in involving the 17th Judicial Circuit with the Model Court Initiative and has pushed for the Tracey McPharlin Pro Bono Project which assigns pro bono attorneys to youth in foster care.  She was appointed by the Supreme Court of Florida to the Steering Committee on Children and Families on which she currently serves. 

Judge Bristol is now the Chairperson of Florida’s Statewide Dependency Court Improvement Panel.  This panel is responsible for driving the agenda for all of the Dependency Courts in Florida for the next two years. 

She is also appointed by the Supreme Court of Florida as a Mentor Judge for new judges to the 17th Judicial Circuit.  Judge Bristol is also a faculty member of the Florida Judicial College.

Judge Bristol was also involved as a member of the Jurisdictional Case Studies Sub-Committee.  This is a committee through Office of Juvenile Justice and Delinquency Prevention, which has received a Federal Grant that will allow the commencement of research on youth who are dually involved in the Delinquency and Dependency courts, in order to explore better options in servicing these youth.

Judge Bristol is a strong proponent of the Unified Family Court Model.  She believes the One Judge/One Family model has helped families immensely in achieving reunification, or helping youth in care receive permanency more expediently.   These goals have been achieved through the numerous wrap around services that are available for children who are dually involved in foster care and the juvenile justice system.  As chairperson of the UFC Division, Judge Bristol ensures that each UFC Judge has a separate “cross-over” docket in order to address the specific needs of these dually involved youth.  In cooperation with the State Attorney’s Office, Public Defender’s Officer, Department of Juvenile Justice and Department of Children and Families, these youth are provided more services and have achieved better results by way of disposition on their juvenile charges as well as additional help with their families.   Broward’s UFC Judges hold hearings on these cases more frequently and all parties are expected to attend so that these hearings are not conducted in a vacuum.   The youth involved are also expected to attend all hearings and are impacted by the consistency they receive in seeing the same parties around the table. 

Judge Bristol has been recognized by the Guardian ad Litem Program as Judicial Advocate of the Year in 2012.  She has also received the honor of Elected Official of the Year by the National Association of Social Workers, Florida Chapter in 2011.  Judge Bristol was also the 2017 recipient of the William E. Gladstone, Champion of Children Award given every year at Florida’s Child Protection Summit.