Judge Gayle P. Roberts was first appointed to the New York City Family Court bench in 1997 by Mayor Rudolph Giuliani. She was reappointed in January of 2006 by Mayor Michael Bloomberg. She has been assigned to Bronx County since her initial appointment. For approximately ten years, she has been assigned to hear child protective proceedings, including abuse, neglect and termination of parental rights cases. Judge Roberts has been selected to preside over several Model Court parts and special initiatives. Early in her tenure as a judge, she was assigned to implement the Abandonment Project, which put all appropriate cases of abandoned babies in the Bronx on a fast track to adoption. She worked with local mental health professionals on the Babies Can't Wait initiative, which sought to ensure that all young children involved in child protective cases in the Bronx received necessary medical, mental health, and Early Intervention services. More recently, she presided over Family Treatment Court cases, which focused on child protective cases involving caregivers who required drug treatment and rehabilitation services.
Judge Roberts is involved in numerous professional and civic organizations.
She is a member of the Board of Directors of the Black Bar Association of Bronx County. She has served on the New York State Bar Association's President's Committee on Access to Justice.
Judge Roberts was elected President of the New York State Family Court Judges Association in 2005. As President, one of her goals was to increase awareness of the disproportionate representation of minority children in the foster care and juvenile justice systems. She was instrumental in hosting a day long program at the New York State Judicial Institute which brought together judges, attorneys, professors, mental health professionals and community leaders to examine strategies to reduce disproportionality.
Since then, she has endeavored to keep the issue of disproportionality at the forefront in the court system. She has presented on the issue of disproportionality at the National Center for State Courts Chief Justices' Summit in Austin, Texas, and at the annual conference of the National Council of Juvenile and Family Court Judges (NCJFCJ) in San Diego. In May of the is year Judge Roberts was honored at Jurist of the Year by the Metropolitan Black Bar Association based upon her leadership in this area.
Currently, Judge Roberts is working with the NCJFCJ on the Courts Catalyzing Change initiative to address disproportionality in the child welfare system in the Bronx. She is the chairperson of an interdisciplinary group of advocates and other players involved with child welfare cases in the Bronx that is working to develop and implement strategies for reducing disproportionality.
Prior to her appointment to the bench, Judge Roberts was an assistant district attorney in Bronx County. Judge Roberts graduated with honors from Tulane University School of Law and the University of Pittsburgh.