Nora E. Sydow
Toolkit for Court Performance Measures in Child Abuse and Neglect Cases
Interstate Compact on the Placement of Children (ICPC)
High Performance Court Framework
Through the collaboration of courts and child-welfare agencies, improvements in dependency courts to implement promising practices such as performance measures to improve accountability, enhance and increase the legal representation of children and their parents, improve caseflow management, and strengthening the management information systems is crucial to ensure the safety and well-being of neglected and abused children.
Links to related online resources are listed below. Non-digitized publications may
be borrowed from the NCSC Library; call numbers are provided.
The National Resource Center for Child Welfare Data and Technology (NRC-CWDT), a service of the Children’s Bureau, provides a broad range of technical assistance to State and Tribal child welfare agencies and the courts on data and system issues to improve outcomes for children and families.
The Supreme Court of Texas Permanent Judicial Commission for Children, Youth and Families formally adopted a functional requirements reference model for the special needs of courts handling child protection cases. Culminating nearly two years of work, the functional requirements reference model was developed in order to give vendors of court case management software an authoritative set of requirements for the creation of specialized modules of court software systems. The work was done with major funding from a Court Improvement Program grant to the Court from the Administration for Children and Families.
A Memorandum of Understanding (MOU) between the Utah Administrative Office of the Courts and the Utah Department of Human Services regarding establishing an interface between their management information systems.
National Center for State Courts. This report presents findings and recomendations from a study of statewide judicial commissions on the protection of children.
The NCSC has produced this Web publication on issues to consider during times of crisis that will promote the safety, permanency, and well-being of abused and neglected children.
Justice System Journal. The study described in this article was undertaken by the Alaska Court System's Child in Need of Aid Court Improvement Committee in 2005. The study described the Alaska Court System's handling of child protection cases, compared that situation to findings from two earlier assessments, and discussed the court's performance in the context of applicable state and federal case-processing standards, including timeliness, efficiency, fairness, treatment of parties, and quality of proceedings. (Vol. 29, No. 2)
This is the final report of the Education Committee of the Supreme Court of Texas Permanent Judicial Commission for Children, Youth and Families. The Commission's select 14-member Education Committee and its subcommittees of over 100 judges, educators, social workers, and others present in its final report recommendations to improve the educational outcomes for children and youth in foster care.
Future Trends in State Courts. Williamsburg, VA: National Center for State Courts.
This article presents the recently developed court education measures for children in foster care. These measures were developed by a focus group of members from the courts, child welfare, education, and research organizations.
National Working Group on Foster Care and Education (Oct. 2011). This fact sheet discusses national foster care data, shares research findings, and highlights promising policies and programs.
This briefing, prepared by the California AOC's Center for Families, Children & the Courts, addresses disclosure of education information held by schools and education officials. The brief states that currently (2010) two California counties, San Diego and Fresno, are exchanging data between education, the child welfare agency, and the court.
This checklist was designed to assist judicial officers hearing child protection cases by highlighting key educational questions to ask during hearings.
Prepared for the Office of Juvenile Justice and Delinquency Prevention by Children and Family Futures, along with the National Drug Court Institute and with Federal, State, and other stakeholders to offer guidelines to "help states and programs create systems changes that will have a lasting impact on Family Drug Courts (FDCs), the policies of courts and child welfare and treatment service systems, and community‐based organizations serving parents, children, and families. This document provides guidance for implementing an FDC, including the development of FDC partnerships and a common vocabulary for describing FDC components, with a focus on improving services to families who are involved with the child welfare system and are affected by substance use disorders."
This National Center for State Courts resource provides state-by-state links to family dependency treatment courts.
Helping Babies from the Bench: Using the Science of Early Childhood Development in Court was developed to raise awareness of the impact maltreatment has on developmental outcomes for infants and toddlers. Through the example of the Miami-Dade County, Florida juvenile court, the DVD highlights how judges can intervene on behalf of the child.
Miami Safe Start is an initiative of the Juvenile Court of the Eleventh Circuit Court in collaboration with the University of Miami, the City of Miami Police Department, Early Head Start, and Community Providers of Service to Families. This initiative is a targeted expansion grant to increase the provision of early intervention services for children from newborn to six years old who have witnessed or been victims of violence.
This article discusses Washington state's Dependent Youth Interview Project, a pilot program for judicial officers to interview dependent youth, twelve years or older, during dependency hearings for the purpose of determining the youth's wishes.
This ABA project provides training and technical assistance to assist judges, attorneys and other stakeholders with involving youth in court hearings and case planning.
This webinar, hosted by the National Center for State Courts as a follow-up to the 2009 Third National Leadership Summit on the Protection of Children, addressed the importance and impact of parental involvement in the child protection process. Panelists included the ABA's Mimi Lavar, Vivek Sankaran of the Detroit Center for Family Advocacy, Judge Thomas Kennedy and Magistrate Evelyn Sullivan from Colorado, and Alicia Davis from Colorado's Office of Court Administration.
Barton Child Law & Policy Center for the Supreme Court of Georgia Committee on Justice for Children Court Improvement Initiative. This guide presents an overview of each section of Fostering Connections, describes how the law has been implemented in Georgia, and provides questions for Georgia’s juvenile court judges to ask from the bench to help ensure compliance with the law and best practice.
This NGA Center for Best Practices report provides successful state strategies in the following five areas: (1) promoting educational achievement; (2) connecting youth with employment and career training; (3) enhancing access to safe and affordable housing; (4) helping youth access and manage health care; and (5) helping youth build stable and lifelong relationships.
This National Governors Association webcast provided an overview of the issue and examples of how leaders in states, the legal community, and youth themselves are working to reduce the number of older youth in foster care. The webcast featured Krista Penrod from Iowa's Youth Elevate program, the ABA's Andrea Khoury, and The Homecoming Project's Michelle Chalmers.
This paper focuses on crossover youth and discusses the successes and challenges that juvenile justice and child welfare agencies face in preparing these youth for a successful adulthood.
This report introduces a set of data metrics designed to provide clear, concise data in a useable format to assist the New York State Family Court (Family Court) community and government partners in achieving the best possible outcomes for children who are the subject of child abuse or neglect proceedings and to ensure the due process rights of those who come before the court.
Vermont created a survey with the goal of better understanding the strengths and weaknesses of juvenile practice in abuse and neglect cases statewide. The survey addresses the following areas: (1) Pre-Petition; (2) Training of Judges, Attorneys, GALs, Social Workers, and Staff; (3) Courtroom Facilities; (4) Case Assignment; (5) Court Calendaring; (6) Frontloading of Services; (7) Notice of Court Hearings; (8) Quality of Court Hearings; (9) Court Orders; (10) Legal Representation of Children and Parents; (11) State’s Attorneys; (12) GALs; (13) Disposition; (14) Court Oversight of Case Progress; (15) Permanency Hearings; (16) and Proceedings after Initial Permanency Review Hearing.
The National Council of Juvenile and Family Court Judges' (NCJFCJ) Courts Catalyzing Change (CCC) initiative was developed to reduce disproportionality and disparate treatment in dependency court systems. The CCC website includes many resources including CCC newsletters, reports, benchcards, and other disproportionality resources.
This report is an overview of the National Summit on child Protection held in September 2005 and a compilation of state team plans designed to reform the foster care system that resulted from the Summit.
This report provides state legislative strategies to safely reduce the number of children in foster care including: (1) preventing out-of-home placement; (2) reducing the length of stay in foster care; and (3) reducing racial/ethnic disproportionality and disparate outcomes.
The goal of the National Governor's Association (NGA) Policy Academy on Safely Reducing the Number of Children in Foster Care is for participating states to develop a two-year strategic plan to safely reduce the number of children in foster care. The six states selected to participate in the Academy are Arkansas, Florida, Ohio, Oregon, Pennsylvania, and South Carolina.
The National American Indian Court Judges Association. This national directory includes contact information for tribal justice systems in addition to Indian Child Welfare Act (ICWA) tribal contact information for notice purposes and tribes’ tribal affiliations.
This video webcast presented the newly developed court outcome measures on well-being. The webcast featured a panel discussion and questions were fielded from webcast viewers. The webcast was sponsored by the National Resource Center on Legal and Judicial Issues.