COURT APPOINTMENT’Mason County Attorney Rob Hofmann will be sworn in Wednesday as the Associate Judge for the Child Protection Court of the Hill Country. This position will be used to assist regional CPS cases with efficient and timely court hearings. Abused and neglected children will be closer to having a safe and permanent home when Rob Hofmann is sworn in as the Associate Judge for the Child Protection Court of the Hill Country this week. The Honorable Stephen B. Ables, Administrative Judge for the 6th Judicial Region of Texas, will administer the oath for the new judge on Wednesday Jan. 16, at 10 a.m. in the District Courtroom of the Mason County Courthouse in Mason. As an associate judge, Hofmann will hear abuse and neglect cases involving children in custody of Child Protective Services (CPS) in Brown, Kimble, Mason, McCulloch, Menard and Mills Counties. The court is the 13th of its kind approved in Texas. Since initial funding in 1997, success of the child protection courts has been widely reported. CPS case backlogs have been drastically reduced meaning that children spend less time in foster care, with the added benefit of saving state funds for their care. The associate judges appointed to the courts hear only child abuse cases, providing consistency and expertise in the law as well as special knowledge of available state and local resources. 35th Judicial District Judge Stephen Ellis of Brownwood and 198th Judicial District Judge Emil Karl Prohl of Kerrville will provide oversight for the court and refer all cases involving CPS to it. These two courts currently have a combined total docket of over 3,300 cases. Statistics show a combined child population of over 14,000 for the six counties to be served by the court which covers 6,241 square miles of the rural Texas Hill Country. A graduate of Texas A&M University and Texas Tech University School of Law, Hofmann is currently serving in his sixth year as Mason County Attorney. He has served on the boards of the Texas District and County Attorney’s Association, Hill Country Children’s Advocacy Center, Steady Steps Weekday Children’s Ministry, Mason Lions Club and Mason County Child Welfare Board. He received the Meritorious Service Award from the Family Shelter of San Angelo and has recently attended the national Crimes Against Children Conference in Dallas. Hofmann and his wife, Shannon, a teacher at Mason Jr. High School, are members of the First United Methodist Church of Mason.