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September 2004Vol. 5, No. 7Child Welfare and the Courts

Federal child welfare laws and national reform initiatives require courts to work more quickly and efficiently with child welfare agencies to meet the needs of children and families at risk. Two recent publications acknowledge the barriers faced by courts in helping vulnerable children and explore the court's role in improving outcomes for families.

  • View from the Bench: Obstacles to Safety and Permanency for Children in Foster Care summarizes key findings from a national survey of dependency court judges. The survey was sponsored by Fostering Results, a national, nonpartisan public education project to raise awareness of issues facing children in foster care, in partnership with the National Center for State Courts and the National Council of Juvenile and Family Court Judges. Read the survey results at
  • Building a Better Collaboration: Facilitating Change in the Court and Child Welfare System identifies systems change as imperative for juvenile and family courts, child welfare agencies, and community stakeholders to meaningfully improve the lives of vulnerable children. This National Council of Juvenile and Family Court Judges Technical Assistance Bulletin (Vol. VII, April 2004) identifies elements and strategies that support effective and sustainable systems change and offers examples from across the country that demonstrate how theoretical concepts can be implemented in the real world of child welfare reform. For more information about the bulletin, go to or contact the Permanency Planning for Children Department, National Council of Juvenile and Family Court Judges at 775.327.5300 or