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The COURT IMPROVEMENT PROJECT. PHILADELPHIA PENNSYLVANIA Presented by the THE DEPARTMENT OF HUMAN SERVICES AND FAMILY COURT OF PHILADELPHIA 05/09/02. The COURT IMPROVEMENT PROJECT. COLLABORATION COOPERATION COMMUNICATION CONCURRENT PLANNING. The COURT IMPROVEMENT PROJECT.

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the court improvement project

The COURT IMPROVEMENT PROJECT

PHILADELPHIA PENNSYLVANIA

Presented by the

THE DEPARTMENT OF HUMAN SERVICES

AND

FAMILY COURT OF PHILADELPHIA

05/09/02

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The COURT IMPROVEMENT PROJECT

  • COLLABORATION
  • COOPERATION
  • COMMUNICATION
  • CONCURRENT PLANNING
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The COURT IMPROVEMENT PROJECT

Each new adjudicatory hearing will have a pre-hearing conference that is scheduled at a specific time and lasts for 30-45 minutes.

The Pre-Hearing Conference

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The COURT IMPROVEMENT PROJECT

The pre-hearing conference is focused upon providing the parents / caregivers with the opportunity to receive front-loaded services.

The Pre-Hearing Conference

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The COURT IMPROVEMENT PROJECT

  • the DHS and provider social worker,
  • the parents/ caregiver and their legal representative,
  • the child and child advocate attorney,
  • the solicitor,
  • the Behaviors Health Services clinician (BHS) and
  • the facilitator

The Pre-Hearing Conference participants includes

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The COURT IMPROVEMENT PROJECT

At each pre-hearing conference the focus is on:

  • Services
  • Placement
  • Visitation
  • Adjudication

The Pre-Hearing Conference focus

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The COURT IMPROVEMENT PROJECT

  • The social worker should be prepared to review the reason the family is involved with court.
  • If there are indications that parents are drug dependent or have mental health issues discuss what behaviors you have observed.
  • An informed social worker or supervisor must appear at the conference and the following hearing.

The Social Workers role at the Pre-Hearing Conference

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The COURT IMPROVEMENT PROJECT

  • The Behavioral Health assessors’ role is to provide a recommendation regarding mental health and drug & alcohol services that meet the family’s individual needs.
  • The BHS assessor may recommend a family assessment, psychological or other clinical treatment for one or more family members.

The Behavioral Health Services role at the Pre-Hearing Conference

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The COURT IMPROVEMENT PROJECT

  • To ensure that all parties have an equal role in developing the recommendations.
  • Prepare the recommendation in a written format for the judge to review.

The Facilitator’s role at the Pre-Hearing Conference

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The COURT IMPROVEMENT PROJECT

The Hearing

  • Cases that receive a pre-hearing conference will receive priority when being called into the courtroom.
  • The judge will ask for an overview of the case and whether there were agreements.
  • If there are no agreements the case will proceed as a normal adjudicatory hearing.
  • A court order will be distributed at the hearings end.
collaboration
COLLABORATION
  • PARENTS, SOCIAL WORKERS AND ADVOCATES WORK TOGETHER TO FIND SOLUTIONS.
  • PROFESSIONAL MEDIATORS ARE USED TO RESOLVE CONFLICTS.
  • HALF-HOUR PRE-HEARING CONFERENCES ENCOURAGE WORKING ON AGREEMENTS BEFORE THE HEARING.
  • PRE-HEARING CONFERENCES ARE SET AT SPECIFIC TIMES DURING THE MORNING.
cooperation
COOPERATION
  • BEHAVIORAL HEALTH (Psychological, Drug/ Alcohol) TREATMENT IS FRONT LOADED AND AVAILABLE AT FAMILY COURT.
  • PLACEMENT, VISITATION AND SERVICES ARE THE FOCUS OF EACH PRE-HEARING CONFERENCE.
  • THE SERVICES ARE FOCUSED TOWARD IDENTIFYING A PERMANENT HOME FOR EACH CHILD IN PLACEMENT OR KEEPING CHILDREN FROM BEING PLACED.
communication
COMMUNICATION
  • PARENTS ARE INVOLVED DIRECTLY.
  • ALL PARTIES ARE EXPECTED TO HAVE INPUT INTO THE PLAN AT THE PRE-HEARING CONFERENCE.
  • ATTORNEY SHOULD CONTACT PARENTS BEFOR THE HEARING.
  • TIME IS PROVIDED BEFORE EACH HEARING TO RESOLVE ISSUES.
  • AN ACTION PLAN IS DEVELOPED IN A NON-ADVISORIAL AND PLANNED MANNER.
concurrent planning
CONCURRENT PLANNING
  • ADOPTION and SAFE FAMILIES ACT TIMEFRAMES AND GUIDELINES ARE UTILIZED.
  • RELATIVES ARE INVOLVED AND COMMUNITY MEMBERS ARE WELCOMED.
  • INCREASED FOCUS ON THE BEST INTEREST OF THE CHILD.
  • THE PLAN IS OUTLINED AND DETAILED TO ALL PARTIES.
  • USE THIS FORUM AS AN OPPORTUNITY TO SCHEDULE THE FAMILY SERVICE PLAN.
roles for dhs social workers
Roles for DHS Social Workers
  • DHS SOCIAL WORKER WILL NEED TO APPEAR ON TIME FOR THE PRE-HEARING CONFERENCE /ADJUDICATORY HEARING.
  • DHS SOCIAL WORKER WILL NEED TO BRING A SUMMARY OUTLINING THE REASON THE CASE IS IN COURT (court report or petition).
  • DHS SOCIAL WORKERS FROM INTAKE AND FAMILY REGIONS WILL NEED TO JOINTLY ATTEND WHEN THE CASE HAS BEEN RECENTLY TRANSFERRED.
  • DHS SOCIAL WORKER WILL NEED TO ADDRESS THE ISSUES OF SERVICES, VISITATION AND PLACEMENT.
court improvement overview
Court Improvement Overview
  • EARLY ASSESSMENT AND REFERRAL FOR SERVICES
  • EMPOWERING PARENTS
  • ENCOURAGING COMMUNICATION
  • EFFECTIVE TIME USAGE
  • FOCUS ON CHILD’S PERMANENCY NEEDS
  • MEASURED RESULTS
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The COURT IMPROVEMENT PROJECT

If you have questions on the Pre-hearing process please contact your supervisor, a member of the ‘DHS court unit’ or the solicitors office.