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August 2012Vol. 13, No. 7Preparing Children for Court

Participating in court proceedings may be particularly stressful for children. The Office of Court Improvement, a division of the Office of the State Courts Administrator within the Supreme Court of Florida, released an activity book specifically for children attending dependency hearings. What’s Happening In Dependency Court? aims to familiarize children with the judicial system by providing information related to the court process, legal terms, and the role of court personnel. Information is divided into easy-to-read topical areas, including the following:

  • Why did I have to leave my home?
  • Where will I live now?
  • Will I get to see my mom and dad?
  • Will I get to see my brothers and sisters?
  • Why do we keep going to court?
  • Can I go to court?
  • Can I talk to the judge?
  • What should I say and how should I act in court?
  • Who else will be in the courtroom?
  • When will I know what is going to happen to me?
  • How does the judge decide if I should go home?

Coloring activities and crossword puzzles help children develop proper expectations, understand the importance of the rules and how to behave in court. 

What's Happening In Dependency Court? is available on the Florida State Courts website: (5 MB)