National Judicial Leadership Summit IV on Child Welfare

CIP Stories Podcast

Tune into the CIP Stories podcast to hear coordinators and directors share their stories about the Court Improvement Program, which aims to improve safety, permanency and well-being for children and families.

Subscribe to the podcast on Apple Podcasts or RSS feedEpisodes will be released every other week. 

Summit Materials

Additional Resources:

Theme #1: Incorporating the Voice of Families in the Court Process

    1. New ABA Center on Children and the Law Adolescent Brain Research Toolkit developed by the Youth Engagement Project through support of the Annie E. Casey Foundation. It is designed to help practitioners apply adolescent brain science when engaging youth in their court hearings and case planning. 
    2. The Youth Engagement Project of the ABA Center on Children and the Law promotes youth engagement in the court process, transition and permanency planning for older youth, and extending foster care beyond age 18.  Highlighted resources include:

      1. With Me, Not Without Me: How to Involve Children in Court
      2. Seen and Heard: Involving Children in Dependency Court
      3. Ex Parte Communications between Children and Judges in Dependency Proceedings
      4. Judge's Benchcards: Young Children 0-1Toddlers & Preschool Age ChildrenSchool Age ChildrenAdolescentsOlder Adolescents
      5. Seen, Heard and Engaged: Children in Dependency Court Proceedings
      6. Engaging Youth in Court: Sample Court Policy  
      7. Considerations on Involving Youth in Court

    3. National Alliance for Parent Representation Resources:

      1. Parent Know Your Rights Guides for every state

    4. Reunification Resources:

      1. Reunification Heroes Each year we honor parents, youth, professionals, and volunteers as National Reunification Heroes. We also share valuable resources about reunification and guidance for collaborative efforts by birth parents and resource parents.

Theme #2: Delivering High Quality Legal Representation to Families in Child Welfare

      1. ABA Legal Representation Infographic highlighting the importance of high quality legal representation for all parties in child welfare proceedings.
      2. New Family Justice Initiative website with access to additional materials on supporting access to counsel for every child and every parent in child welfare proceedings. 
      3. One pager about the Family Justice Initiative, including the approach to developing demonstration sites and evaluating models of practice around the country. 
      4. Family Justice Initiative attributes of high quality legal representation for children and parents in child welfare proceedings. 
      5. NACC Red Book Flyer
      6. NACC Child Welfare Law Specialist Certification
      7. Brochure for the QJC-ChildRep Initiative funded by the Children's Bureau 2009-2016
      8. Commission on Parental Legal Representation - Interim Report to New York Chief Judge Janet DiFiore
      9. Parent Representation in Child Abuse and Neglect Proceedings in Mississippi

Theme #3: Safely Preventing the Unnecessary Entry of Children into Foster Care Through Meaningful Initial Hearings

      1. ABA Child Safety Guide for Judge and Attorneys
      2. Alia Research Brief 2019
      3. A Cure Worse than the Disease? The Impact of Removal on Children and Their Families
      4. Ignoring Reasonable Efforts: How Courts Fail to Promote Prevention
      5. In the Supreme Court of the State of Montana, In the matter of: R.J.F. A Youth in Need of Care
      6. Overcoming Barriers to Making Meaningful Reasonable Efforts
      7. Reasonable Efforts as Prevention
      8. Relative Placement: The Best Answer for Our Foster Care System
      9. A Cure Worse than the Disease? The Impact of Removal on Children and Their Families
      10. New ABA Family Integrity Policy that passed before our House of Delegates in August 2019. In short, it provides:

In short, it provides:

      • Children and parents have rights to family integrity and family unity; 
      • The legal community and state agencies should work to mitigate the trauma to children and families that separation and removal into foster care can produce; 
      • Prevention services, including quality legal services, can ensure children’s safety without removing them from their families; 
      • Government may interfere with children’s and parents’ rights to family integrity when necessary for the child’s health, safety or well-being and when procedural protections are followed;
      • Decisions to separate a child from a parent to protect health, safety and well-being are subject to state and tribal authorities; and
      • When children are in foster care, family connections should be safely maintained and supported with parents, kin, and siblings during the pendency of the case. 

Theme #4: Courts Ensuring Procedural Fairness, Equity and Access to Justice for All Families 

      1. ABA Standards of Practice:

        1. ABA Standards for Lawyers who Represent Children in Abuse and Neglect Cases
        2. ABA Standards of Practice for Attorneys Representing Parents in Abuse and Neglect Cases
        3. ABA Standards of Practice for Lawyers Representing Child Welfare Agencies
        4. ABA Model Act Governing the Representation of Children in Abuse, Neglect, and Dependency Proceedings 
        5. ABA Judicial Excellence in Child Abuse and Neglect Proceedings

      2. ABA Family Integrity Policy, Section IV on procedural protections

Theme #5: Leading Child Welfare Reform from the Supreme Court and AOC

    1. New ABA Case Summaries Project: Earlier this year, we launched a new project to better connect judicial decisions across the children’s law field by providing summaries of key state supreme court decisions on child welfare and related topics. In addition to summarizing the court’s holding and reasoning, each case will highlight the practical significance for the field.The following summaries have been released so far:

      1. Pennsylvania Supreme Court: Illegal Drug Use While Pregnant is Not Child Abuse
      2. Iowa Supreme Court: Incarcerated Parents Must be Allowed to Participate in Entire TPR Hearing
      3. Montana Supreme Court: Clarifies Reasonable Efforts in Child Welfare Case
    2. Essential Questions to Ask Each Hearing to Promote Permanency
    3. The Opioid Epidemic and the Response of State Courts
    4. Pathways Introduction
    5. Pathways Options
    6. Pathways Tool
    7. Status Hearing Checklist