Children & Families

The Cady Family Justice Reform Initiative

The Cady Initiative strives to provide courts across the country with validated, data-informed strategies for improving domestic relations cases by drawing from domestic relations case management data, promising practices and program evaluations nationwide to recommend practices that promote better outcomes for families.

National Judicial Leadership Summit IV on Child Welfare

The National Judicial Leadership Summit IV on Child Welfare, was held in September 2019 and was intended to mobilize the legal and judicial community and other child welfare partners around a new national vision for ensuring the well-being of children with their families.

Study of Virtual Welfare Hearings

The National Center for State Courts (NCSC) is studying the experience of court users in virtual child welfare. The pandemic forced courts to quickly adapt their operations to align with social distancing requirements. For many child welfare courts, this meant launching virtual hearings and finding new ways for families, attorneys, and advocates to communicate safely with the court and with each other.

Putting Children and Families First in Dependency Case Management and Scheduling Training Curriculum

This training curriculum helps courts assess their adherence to principles of case management and scheduling and investigate research-supported strategies for increasing effective case management in dependency cases. NCSC, in partnership with the National Council of Juvenile and Family Court Judges (NCJFCJ), synthesized best practices in juvenile and family court and case management principles to develop an adaptable and responsive online training curriculum.

Upstream - Strengthening children and families through prevention and intervention strategies: A court- and community-based approach.

The Upstream approach is a court and community-based approach to identify solutions to strengthen families through prevention and intervention strategies. To ensure healthy and safe communities, we must engage communities, strengthen community-based resources, address the systemic barriers that keep families from thriving and ensure effective collaboration between the community, the child welfare system and the court.

CIP Talks

This webinar series features the experts and resources who can help the legal community better serve vulnerable children and families more effectively.

Improving Child Protection Outcomes: A Framework for Judicial Leaders

The National Impact on Outcomes Committee asks judicial leaders to help improve child welfare outcomes by developing outcome-driven courts using a plan for change management -- one that relies on critical reflection on data and current practices to achieve measurable improvements on child and family outcomes. You can here.

IV-E Waivers

Allowing for more flexible use of federal funds in order to test new approaches to service delivery and financing structures in child welfare, IV-E Waivers can increase service availability and support court functions. This document sets forth how courts can give voice to systemic needs and support a waiver application.

Dependency Court Performance Measures

Few acts are more tragic than abuse and neglect of children. The new Toolkit for Court Performance Measures in Child Abuse and Neglect Cases produced for the U.S. Department of Justice and the Children’s Bureau by the National Center for State Courts, National Council of Juvenile and Family Court Judges, and the ABA Center on Children and the Law has been designed and tested to provide practice and comprehensive guidance to improving the safety, permanency and well-being outcomes for abused and neglected children.

Dependency Data Exchange

Courts and child welfare agencies share responsibility for positive outcomes for abused and neglected children. Sharing information between courts and child welfare agencies has proven to improve outcomes for children and made it easier to document the progress made by creating the performance measures mentioned in the Toolkit.

  • The NCSC Child Welfare Net Project provides a current picture of data exchange efforts in the states.

  • The rationale for data exchange and its early successes may be found here.

Children and Disasters

The Children’s Bureau of the United States Department of Health and Human Services supported a collaborative effort among the American Bar Association’s Center on Children and the Law, the National Council of Juvenile and Family Court Judges (NCJFCJ), and the National Center for State Courts (NCSC) to examine how lessons learned from Hurricanes Katrina and Rita could be applied to dependency courts and to recommend a strategic approach to ensure that the essential functions of dependency courts are sustained during an emergency or disaster. The result is Emergency Preparedness in Dependency Courts: Ten Questions That Courts Serving Abused and Neglected Children Must Address.

Summits on the Protection of Children

The National Center for State Courts sponsored the Third National Judicial Leadership Summit on the Protection of Children on October 15-17, 2009 in Austin, Texas.

The VAWA Courts Assistance project provides tools to encourage innovative use of Violence Against Women STOP Project funds by courts.

Project Passport aims to improve recognition and enforcement of orders of protection within and between states/tribes by encouraging states to adopt a standard cover sheet for orders of protection.

Find out more about both programs here.

The American Judges Association announces “Effective Adjudication of Domestic Abuse Cases,” the newly developed and free online domestic violence education program for judges. Explore the dynamics of assessing lethality and dangerousness, custody and protective orders, special evidentiary issues, and effective sentencing -- all online, at your own pace.

Past projects > 2020 201920182017201620152014201320122011 | 2010 |  2009 | 2008 | 2007 | 2006 | 2005 | 2004


Juvenile and Family Matters Unification Review Project for the Marion County, Indiana Superior Court, 2019-2020


Behavioral Health Docket Implementation Assessment Report for the City of Richmond, Virginia, 2018-2019

Caseflow and Calendaring Study for the 37th Judicial Circuit of Alabama, 2018-2019

Casey Family Programs Projects for Various Court Systems (Annual, Multi-Project), 2014-2019

Comprehensive Assessment of Juvenile Probation Services for the Fulton County, Georgia Juvenile Court, 2018-2019

Data Collection and Analysis Implementation Project for the Administrative Office of the Illinois Courts, for Child Protection Data Courts (CPDC) Systems, 2010-2019

Differentiated Case Management Project for the Oregon Judicial Department, 2018-2019

Enhancing Court and Probation Practices for Cases Involving Juveniles, a Project Conducted for the Arizona Supreme Court, Administrative Office of the Courts, 2017-2019

Evaluation of Alternative to Incarceration Programs in Suffolk County, New York, 2016-2019

Research and Consulting for the Vermont Judicial Commission on Family Treatment Dockets, 2018-2019


Juvenile Probation Performance Measures Assessment for the Allegheny County, Pennsylvania Courts, 2017-2018

Statewide Evaluation for the Juvenile Drug Court (JDC) of West Virginia, 2015-2018

Strategic Planning for the Calcasieu Parish, Louisiana Family Juvenile Court, 2017-2108


Family Law Division Study for the Orange County, California Superior Court, 2017

Judicial Domestic Relations Triage Study for the Colorado Judiciary, 2017

Performance Measure Study for the Colorado Family Treatment Drug Court, 2017

Staff Workload Study for the Family Court of Delaware, 2017


Guardian Ad Litem (GAL) Board Structural Analysis for the Minnesota Judicial Center, 2016

Workload Assessment for the Texas Courts, Child Protection Services, 2016


Child Protection Services Assessment for the Pokagon Band, Michigan, 2015

Family Court Structure Review for Harris County, Texas, 2015

Job Classification Project for the Cuyahoga County, Ohio Juvenile Court, 2015

Juvenile Diversion Assessment for the Court of Wyandotte, Kansas, 2015

Multi-State Domestic Relations Triage Project (SJI Grant), 2015

ODR Parenting Act Assessment for the Nebraska Judicial System, 2015


Analyzing Court Improvement Data Timeliness Measures for the Indiana Division of State Court Administration, 2014

Reclaiming Futures Project for the Snohomish County, Washington Courts, 2014

Training Needs Assessment for the Rhode Island Family Court, 2014

Weighted Workload Study for Juvenile Officers for the Missouri Office of the State Court Administrator, 2014


Compliance Review of Indian Child Welfare Act (ICWA) Cases for Utah Juvenile Court, 2013

Consulting Services for Nevada Court Improvement Program, 2013

Court Efficiency and Staffing Evaluation and Training for the Douglas County, Nebraska, Separate Juvenile Court (SJI Grant), 2013

Evaluation of Court Improvement Program and Guardian Ad Litem System for the Maine Administrative Office of the Courts (SJI Grant), 2013

Study of Felony Sexual Assault Cases Involving Child Victims and Adult Defendants (subcontractor to University of New Hampshire), 2013


Revision of the National Probate Court Standards (grants from SJI, Borchard Foundation and ACTEC Foundation), 2011-2012


Analysis of Child Support Enforcement Activities Eligible for Federal IV-D Reimbursement for the Administrative Office of the Massachusetts Trial Court, 2011

Development of a Juvenile Dependency Bench Book for the Pennsylvania Administrative Office of the Courts, Office of Children, Families, and the Courts, 2011

Follow Up to Third Leadership Summit to Promote Best Practices to the Child Protection Process (Casey Family Programs Grant), 2011

In-Depth Review of Child Welfare Case Management Reports for the Massachusetts Court Improvement Program, 2011

Operational Assessment of the Fulton County, Georgia Juvenile Court (SJI Grant), 2011


Develop a Process for Title IV Reimbursement for the Kentucky Administrative Office of the Courts (SJI Grant), 2010

Implementation of Child Welfare Metrics and Development of Performance Measures for Child Protection Cases for the Rhode Island Supreme Court in Collaboration with the Rhode Island Department for Children, Youth and Families, 2010

Facilitation of a Collaborative Workshop Regarding the Management of Juvenile Dependency, Neglect, and Abuse Cases for the Rhode Island Administrative Office of the Courts, 2010

Staffing Study for the Juvenile Court for the North Dakota Office of the State Court Administrator, 2010


Continuing Upward from the Summit, Summit III Renewing the Commitment—Advancing the Plans, 2009

Study of Caseflow and Case Management in Child Maltreatment Cases for the Superior Court of Maricopa County, Arizona (SJI Grant), 2009

Training and Technical Assistance to Implement and Evaluate a Paperless Process for the Litigation of Child Dependency Cases in the Superior Court of California, County of Sacramento, 2009


Assistance with Developing a Framework for Providing Information Exchanges Between the Courts and Child Welfare Agencies for the Nevada Supreme Court, Administrative Office of the Courts, 2008

Data Collection and Analysis Needs Assessment (Child Welfare) for the Administrative Office of the Illinois Courts, 2008

Developing Statewide Treatment Standards for Juvenile Drug Courts in North Dakota (Technical Assistance) 2008

Evaluation of Court-Appointed Counsel Performance for the Administrative Office of the California Courts, Center for Families, Children and the Courts, 2008

Justice Information Exchange Model (JIEM) Analysis for the Juvenile Docket For the State of Vermont Judiciary, 2008


Assessment of Juvenile Court System for Shelby County, Tennessee, 2007

Facilitation of Strategic Planning of the Missouri Unified Family Court for the Eleventh and Twenty-fifth Circuits for the Office of Court Administration, 2007

Review of Increasing the Juvenile Jurisdictional Age in Connecticut Delinquency Matters for the Connecticut Judicial Branch, 2007

Workload Forecast for the Children and Family Court for the King County, Washington Superior Court, 2007


Management and Calendaring Study for the Maricopa County, Arizona, Juvenile Division of the Superior Court, 2006

Nebraska Judicial Workload Assessment of District, County, and Juvenile Courts, 2006

Northeast Central Judicial District, North Dakota, Family Court Evaluation, 2006

Reassessment of Wyoming’s Juvenile Court System: Child Abuse and Neglect Case Processing, 2006


New Jersey State Court Improvement Program Reassessment, 2005

North Dakota Juvenile Court Staffing Standards Study, 2005

Ohio State Court Improvement Program Reassessment, 2005


California Administrative Office of the Courts, Court-Based Family Dispute Resolution Database, 2004

First Judicial District of Pennsylvania, Family Court Division of the Philadelphia Court of Common Pleas, Financial Analysis, Review of Grant Reimbursement Practices, and Organizational Analysis, 2004

Miami-Dade County, Florida, Juvenile Court Facilities Project (subcontractor to Carter Goble Associates) 2004

Missouri Office of the State Courts Administrator, 31st Judicial Circuit Family Court Review, 2004

Monitoring Family Court Outcomes in the District of Columbia Court: Implementing Tools to Measure and Improve Court Performance in Child Abuse and Neglect Cases, 2004

South Dakota Unified Judicial System, Review of ICWA Compliance, 2004