PROVIDENCE, R.I. - Governor Gina M. Raimondo today swore-in Judge Michael Forte, the new Chief Judge of the state Family Court.
"Judge Forte has demonstrated a clear vision for assisting families during their most difficult times," Raimondo said. "I am proud to swear-in today someone of the utmost integrity, who I know will work to ensure that every family can make it here in Rhode Island."
"It is an honor and privilege to be sworn-in as the next Chief Judge of Family Court," Forte said. "I thank Governor Raimondo for her commitment to serving all Rhode Island families and I look forward to continuing my time on the bench in an effort to support families at a time when they need it most."
Forte, a veteran of Family Court, has served on the bench since 1987. He is also an Adjunct Professor at Roger Williams University in Providence. Forte is a graduate of the University of Rhode Island and the University of New Hampshire School of Law, previously known as the Franklin Pierce Law Center. He lives in Johnston, where he coaches soccer and basketball at St. Rocco's School, and also volunteers with the North Scituate Boy Scouts Troop 1.
Forte will replace Judge Haiganush R. Bedrosian, who served six years as Chief Judge of the Family Court. Forte has served as interim chief judge since Bedrosian's retirement earlier this year.
"I am thankful to Judge Bedrosian for her dedication and commitment in the courtroom," Raimondo said. "She is a role model for all Rhode Islanders seeking to make a difference in their communities. As the first woman appointed to serve on the state Family Court, and then the first woman to lead it, she is a trailblazer. In particular, I enjoyed collaborating with her at the Family Court's Conference on Human Trafficking. Always ahead of the curve, her call for vigilance in compassionately servicing victims of human trafficking was well heard and has been a focus of the new team at DCYF. I congratulate her on a successful career on the bench, and wish her all the best in this next chapter."
The Family Court has jurisdiction to hear all petitions for divorce, child support, adoptions, and matters related to delinquent, wayward, dependent, neglected, or abused juveniles. Additionally, the Court has specialty Family Treatment Drug, Juvenile Drug, Immigration, and Truancy calendars.