Court Improvement Program (CIP) Talks

Jerry Milner
Associate Commissioner of the Children’s Bureau, Administration for Children, Youth and Families

“Imagine a New Child Welfare System”

CIP talks provide inspiration on how the legal community can work with partners to better serve vulnerable families and help improve child welfare outcomes. If we are serious about serving children and families more effectively, we must fully invest in coordinated strategies and jointly own the outcomes we achieve. The Child Welfare Capacity Building Center for Courts focuses on building the capacity of court improvement programs to improve child welfare practice in the courts and legal community. For more information, check out

To view the full CIP Talks, see the video below.

“How Judges and Attorneys Help Strengthen Families”

On February 28, 2018, the National Center for State Courts (NCSC) hosted the first ever Court Improvement Program (CIP) Talks, an event designed by the Children’s Bureau in collaboration with the Capacity Building Center for Courts.  David Kelly of the Children’s Bureau moderated the event, and hopes that the talks will spark conversation across the country.

"How Judges and Attorneys Help Strengthen Families” featured succinct talks by ten nationally recognized child welfare experts discussing the roles that courts and attorneys play in keeping families healthy, strong, and together.  The talks were livecast out to more than 700 recipients in the US and 8 other countries.  A number of jurisdictions received CLE credit for the event, and parties engaged in robust discussion during the viewing parties and through the Virtual Lobby. 

The Talks prompted viewers to think about the work in new or different ways and to consider new and innovative approaches to work together to strengthen families, by:

  • helping reduce the number of unnecessary removals;
  • engaging parents, children and youth;
  • improving case planning and ensuring effective service provision;
  • promoting kinship care;
  • increasing and enhancing family/parenting time; and
  • advancing child and parent well-being

The CIP Talks began with words by Jerry Milner, Associate Commissioner of the Children’s Bureau, Administration for Children, Youth and Families.  The Associate Commissioner as well as Director Carlyn Hicks of the Mission First Legal Aid Office, Mississippi College School of Law also contributed to CourTalks, a NCSC podcast dealing with today’s judicial issues. 

Other speakers included

  • Hon. Michael Nash (Ret.) of the Los Angeles County Office of Child Protection; Hon. Cindy Lederman, 11th Judicial Circuit Court, Juvenile Division, Florida
  • And Hon. Carrie Garrow
  • Chief Judge, St. Regis Mohawk Nation, New York

The talks are available here in their whole recorded form to assist courts across the country in adopting new practices to help families.