Shay Bilchick ’71


“I credit all of my personal and career accomplishments to my years growing up in Cleveland Heights. I made lifelong friendships, met my wife, and gained the foundational knowledge that led to my successes in college and law school. My teachers at CHHS inspired me and as I moved on to college and law school I often reflected back on those inspirational conversations as motivation in my career and personal life. Being honored with this induction into the CHHS HOF brings so much of what I value in my life full circle!”

“Never doubt that a small group of thoughtful, committed citizens can change the world; indeed, it’s the only thing that ever has.” ~ Margaret Mead

Shay is among the nation’s most influential leaders in the field of juvenile justice, child welfare and related youth-serving systems. Early in his legal career, Shay identified the need for a fundamental shift in how agencies worked together on behalf of youth and worked towards making that happen. From 1977 to 1993, he served as a trial lawyer, juvenile division chief, and as Chief Assistant State Attorney, establishing the first Child Advocacy Center in Florida. In 1994, President Clinton appointed Shay to serve as Administrator of the Office of Juvenile Justice and Delinquency Prevention within the United States Department of Justice. There, Shay transformed the agency into one that prioritized research, identified best practices and supported innovation at the state and local levels. His impact is still felt today as juvenile justice agencies nationwide strive to shape their efforts grounded in research and in line with the principles of youth development, family engagement, fairness and equity. From 2000 to 2007, Shay also served as President and CEO of the Child Welfare League of America, a national organization that supported public and private organizations serving vulnerable children. His contributions to the public policy arena during those years earned him a spot on the Non-Profit Times’ Power and Influence Top 50 in 2001 and 2004 – 2006. Shay left in 2007 to form the Center for Juvenile Justice Reform at Georgetown University to serve as a beacon for the youth-serving field across systems of care seeking to improve the lives of youth and families.


JD, University of Florida

BSBA, University of Florida

Current Occupation

Research Professor, Georgetown University

  • Chief Assistant State Attorney, Miami-Dade County, Florida, leading all juvenile delinquency and child abuse and neglect matters and serving as a national speaker and trainer

  • Confirmed by the United States Senate to lead the federal Office of Juvenile Justice and Delinquency Prevention at the U.S. Department of Justice, administering a budget of over $650 million

  • Led the Child Welfare League of America as its CEO as it expanded its work to include both a focus on child welfare and juvenile justice 

  • Founded the Center for Juvenile Justice Reform Research Center at Georgetown University’s McCourt School of Public Policy, a research center designed to work with counties and states in improving the way they serve children, youth and families involved in multiple systems of care