Originally published in 2019, our profile of Newton County Juvenile Court Chief Juvenile Judge Candice Branche (A.B. psychology, ’90, M.A. counseling, ’92) celebrates a successful alumna and promotes the urge to lead in service among the many attributes that we connect to impactful careers and people. Judge Branche's journey began with psychology, which ushered her into an early professional career in mental health that informs her cause for justice:
Attracted to the therapy route in graduate school, Branche pursued community counseling and more hands-on training. “One crucial part of it is you’re conducting therapy while being videotaped and critiqued. There’s a lot of supervision and the therapy dynamic is unfamiliar at first.”
But the practicums proved fruitful for Branche, who became the first UGA student to go to Ridgeview Institute for an internship. “My passion for working with kids came through their partial hospitalization program for adolescents. I was hooked.”
From there, Branche began as a therapist conducting needs assessments and evaluations in a private psychiatric hospital. She rose to department head at age 24, and was part of a team that organized one of the first mobile assessment units in the Atlanta area.
“I worked 8 to 5 but also took night shifts where you’re called out to emergency rooms or employers, which was challenging in retrospect as it was before cell phones. You’re stopping all over Atlanta, using pay phones, going to the next call. But it was fast-paced and I loved it. I loved all the hospitals – Crawford Long, Douglasville – and all the while being tasked with determining what level of care a person needed.”
After ten years, Branche moved to Charter Greenville Hospital in Greer, SC and then to the group’s Charleston facility where she directed utilization review, mobile assessment and needs assessment.