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February 2009Vol. 10, No. 1New Toolkit Measures Court Performance in Child Welfare

The Children's Bureau and the U.S. Department of Justice's Office of Juvenile Justice and Delinquency Prevention (OJJDP) have collaborated to produce the Toolkit for Court Performance Measures in Child Abuse and Neglect Cases to help dependency courts institute a system of performance measurement. The Toolkit provides practical, comprehensive guidance on how to undertake performance measurement to improve child and family outcomes of safety, permanence, and well-being and move toward more efficient and effective dependency court operations. Three leading court reform organizations—the American Bar Association, the National Center for State Courts, and the National Council of Juvenile and Family Court Judges—provided technical support, and 12 pilot sites in which the Toolkit was tested also provided critical feedback and input. The Toolkit is designed to help courts:

  • Establish their baseline of current practices
  • Diagnose what areas of service delivery they need to improve
  • Make improvements to their operations
  • Track their efforts
  • Identify, document, and replicate positive results

The Toolkit includes five components:

  • The Key Measures booklet outlines nine measures key to determining court performance in child abuse and neglect cases. The booklet discusses the goal of each measure, data requirements, calculation and interpretation, and important related measures.
  • The Implementation Guide describes how to set up a performance measurement team, assess capacity, prioritize measurement needs, and plan data collection activities.
  • The User's Guide to Nonautomated Data Collection explains how to use specific instruments to measure court performance.
  • The Technical Guide describes all 30 court performance measures for child abuse and neglect cases and explains the goals and purpose of each measure.
  • The Guide to Judicial Workload Assessment is designed to help courts establish their baseline practices; diagnose what they need to improve; and use that information to make improvements, track their efforts, and identify, document, and replicate positive results.

This publication series may be ordered in its entirety or as individual publications. Visit the OJJDP website to download or order any of the Toolkit components: