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National Resource Center for Legal & Judicial Issues. Member of the TA Network & Service of the Children’s Bureau. Webinar July 8, 2010. Partner Organizations. ABA Center on Children and the Law The National Council of Juvenile and Family Court Judges (NCJFCJ)

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National Resource Center for Legal & Judicial Issues

Member of the TA Network &

Service of the Children’s Bureau


July 8, 2010

partner organizations
Partner Organizations

ABA Center on Children and the Law

The National Council of Juvenile and Family Court Judges (NCJFCJ)

The National Center for State Courts (NCSC)

  • Brief History of NRCLJI
  • Current NRCLJI formalizes and institutionalizes the “The National Court and Child Welfare Collaborative: Focus on System Reform”

The National Resource Center on Legal and Judicial Issues (NRCLJI) is dedicated to achieving safety, permanence and well-being for abused and neglected children through improved laws, judicial decision-making, legal representation, and improved relationships among courts, agencies, and other partners.

The Resource Center provides consultation, training, and technical assistance on all legal and judicial aspects of the child welfare system, including federal law, court improvement, agency and court collaboration, permanency planning, legal representation, and other emerging child welfare issues.

staff and consultants american bar association
Staff and ConsultantsAmerican Bar Association


Hon. Joanne Brown (ret.)

Diane Boyd Rauber

Margaret Burt

Craig Dorsay

Hon. Steven Rideout (ret.)

Hon. Bill Jones (ret.)

Timothy Travis


Jennifer Renne

Scott Trowbridge

Shante Bullock

Mimi Laver

Kathleen McNaught

Andrea Khoury

Kristin Kelly

Sally Inada

Pat Owen

staff and consultants
Staff and Consultants

National Council of Juvenile

and Family Court Judges


Nancy Miller Hon. Stephen Rubin

Elizabeth Whitney Barnes Hon. Dale Koch

Melissa Bahmer Shirley Dobbin

Julianna Ormsby Sophie Gatowski

Gina Jackson Candice Maze

Jackie Gravois

staff and consultants1
Staff and Consultants

National Center for State Courts


Victor Eugene Flango Aaron Gorrell

Fred Cheesman

Nora Sydow

Brenda Uekert

    • Understanding our “target audience”
    • Judges, lawyers (parent, child, agency)
    • What makes working with the legal community distinct
    • Court Improvement Projects

Methods of Dissemination

  • General strategies for disseminating to stakeholder groups
  • Nationwide email distribution lists / Listserv groups
  • Web Seminars or “Webinars”
  • Books, monographs, brochures, journal articles, & issue bulletins
  • CIP Community of Practice
  • ABA Child Court Works (CCW)
  • ABA Child Law Practice (CLP)
  • NCJFCJ’s Today Magazine and the Juvenile and Family Court Journal
training and technical assistance
Training and Technical Assistance
  • Multiple Modalities for T/TA Delivery
  • Collaboration with TA Network and other partners
  • Integrating systems change / implementation science principles

Some Examples:

Child and Family Service Reviews, focusing on role of the legal community (why and how)

Improving legal representation, specific to parent, child and agency representation

CIP strategic planning -- drafting and implementation

Strategic planning for courts

Use of information technology in the court

Improving court procedure and practice

Collaboration among agencies, courts, and other key stakeholders

Judicial Decision-making (Safety, CCC, subject matter checklists)

Youth Involvement

how our ta works focus on systems change court reform
How Our TA Works – Focus on Systems Change / Court Reform
  • Help states track down and pinpoint the underlying causes of legal system problems.
  • Provide menus of alternative approaches.
  • Identify barriers and strategies with each approach.
  • Helping develop specific action strategies

There are no uniform blueprints that apply to all courts

  • Each court system needs careful diagnosis of problems and solutions to fit local conditions.
  • NRCLJI identifies approaches that have worked in other states, and works with the state to identify an approach that will work there.
  • Provides services to implement the approach, including consultation and training.
  • Recent example – Phase 1: conducted court observations, focus groups, interviews, presented recommendations
collaboration with other ta network partners
Collaboration with other TA Network Partners

NRC for Organizational Improvement

  • strategic planning and quality assurance for courts and lawyers
  • integrate CIP goals with PIP goals
  • involve legal stakeholders in all CFSR phases

NRC for Child Welfare Data and Technology

  • data exchange
  • using judicial data to measure PIP goal attainment and agency efforts to provide localized performance data to courts

NRC for Permanency and Family Connections

  • concurrent planning
  • case plans
  • parent/foster parent participation / family engagement
  • permanency options, permanency for older youth (APPLA)

NRC for Child Protective Services

  • Child Safety: A Guide for Judges and Attorneys
  • CAPTA implementation
  • citizen review panel and children’s justice act issues
NRC for Youth Services
  • permanency planning for adolescents
  • youth in court
  • LGBTQ youth

NRC for Adoption

  • achieving timely adoptions
  • improving adoption assistance agreements

NRC for the Recruitment and Retention of Foster and Adoptive Parents at AdoptUSKids

  • interstate placement legal barriers
  • help prospective adoptive families understand legal issues in adoption, especially for older youth

NRC for Tribes

  • TA for tribes seeking to become direct IV-E recipients
  • ICWA training for state courts
  • model court orders for tribal courts

NRC for In Home Services

  • role of the court for in-home cases
nrclji goals and objectives
NRCLJI Goals and Objectives

1. Assist states with legal issues around Child & Family Services Reviews (CFSRs) & Program Improvement Plans (PIPs)

2. Strengthen States’ Court Improvement Programs & Assist with Fundamental CIP Goals

The overall goal of RCLJI is to improve child safety, permanency, and well-being through improved laws, policies, and legal and judicial practice.

Judges and lawyers are key partners in achieving this goal

To reach this goal, RCLJI will:

goals cont
Goals (cont.)

3. Improve Implementation of Federal & Interjurisdictional Laws

4. Improve Legal Representation for Agencies, Children, & Parents

5. Enhance Participation of Children, Parents, & Relatives in court/agency processes

goals cont1

6. Promote Court Performance through Technology & Automation

7. Enhance Child Well-Being



(Example of activities under one of our goals)GOAL 2: Strengthen States’ Court Improvement Programs & Assist with CIP Goals


Help CIPs implement strategic plans (& reassessments/ evaluation)

Integrate CIP goals with PIP strategies and goals.

Develop and implement curricula & training tools / benchcards for judges and court administrators.

Implement data exchange standards.

Develop cutting edge training evaluation tools for CIPs.

Outreach to leadership organizations.

Focus on court improvements that have the greatest and most lasting impact, including timeliness, notice, representation, treatment of parties, information systems and technology, judicial resources, and education.

Help state courts develop and implement performance measurement.

Enhance judicial recruitment and retention.

Improve judicial procedures, rules, and forms.

Coordinate and facilitate grantees meetings (annual CIP Meeting).

Continually update our national CIP Progress Report and online CIP Catalog.

national council of juvenile and family court judges ncjfcj
National Council of Juvenile and Family Court Judges(NCJFCJ)

Implementation Focus Activities:

Courts Catalyzing Change: Achieving Equity and Fairness in Foster Care - a national agenda to reduce disproportionality and disparate treatment

Judicial Leadership Curriculum: Building judicially-led collaborative teams to effect system change

Training evaluation tools: Satisfaction, knowledge acquisition, behavior change, effect on outcomes

national center for state courts ncsc
Performance Measurement

Courts and CW agencies have the data necessary to create performance measures necessary to monitor progress toward achieving timely permanency

Performance Measures are necessary to monitor achievement of shared goals—better outcomes for children

Outcome measures are a good indicator of success because they force an objective appraisal: did we make a difference?

National Center for State Courts(NCSC)

Court Performance Measures in

Child Abuse and Neglect Cases

(a five-volume “Toolkit”)

  • 30 dependency court performance measures, compatible with CFSR measures, address four basic child welfare goals: Safety, Permanency, Due Process, Timeliness
  • Use of “Toolkit” Measures: Baseline 2010
  • Measures most used statewide are:
    • Percentage in foster care who reach legal permanency
    • Time from filing to legal permanency
    • Time from filing to adjudication
    • Time from filing to TPR

Need for Data Exchange

example of information from cip website
Example of information from CIP website

Timeliness of Decisions

  • Adherence to statutory timelines
  • Continuances

(WA,OR,WV- no cont w/o comp reason)

  • Caseflow Management

i.e. mandatory pretrial conferences (CT,ME,GA,IN,RI,MA,NC)

  • Measuring judicial compliance (UT,MI)
  • Appellate process
  • Automation (CO,MD,OR,AR)
  • Cooperative delay reduction
  • Allocation of judicial positions among courts
Website pages on specific topics include

-AgenciesResources for child welfare agencies. -Child and Family Services ReviewsFederal Child and Family Services Reviews.-Court ImprovementResources related to improving court processes in child welfare.-EducationEducational issues for children in child welfare cases. -Interstate PlacementsThe ICPC and other interstate laws.-Kinship CareRelative placements in child welfare cases.-Legal RepresentationRepresentation of parties in child welfare cases.-LegislationMajor child welfare legislation.-TechnologyUse of technology in child welfare.

other aba center on children and the law projects
Other ABA Center on Children and the Law Projects

ABA Permanency Barriers Project

Adolescent Health (PIPPAH)

Bar-Youth/Aging Out of Foster Care

Commission on Youth at Risk

Disaster Planning Child Welfare Law Issues

Fathers in the Child Welfare System

Grandfamilies State Law and Policy Resource Center

Health of Infants, Toddlers & Preschoolers

Juvenile Status Offense Projects

Legal Center for Foster Care & Education

Opening Doors/LGBTQ Youth in Foster Care

Parent Representation

other ncjfcj projects
Other NCJFCJ Projects
  • Victim’s Act Model Courts
  • Courts Catalyzing Change
  • Child Abuse and Neglect Institute
  • Judicial Institutes on Domestic Violence
  • Tribal Leadership Group
  • Dependency Court Judicial Workload Evaluation
  • Court Process Evaluation and Strategic Planning
  • Customized CIP Projects
for more information
For more information:

Jennifer Renne, Director


NRC on Legal and Judicial Issues

American Bar Association

Center on Children and the Law

740 15th St. NW

Washington, D.C. 20005