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September 2013Vol. 14, No. 7Court Performance in Improving Child Well-Being

The January issue of The Judges' Page newsletter focused on the court's shared responsibility in improving the well-being of children in foster care. In "Improving Child Well-Being Through Continuous Quality Improvement," author Victor E. Flango, Executive Director, Program Resource Development, National Center for State Courts, outlines recent work to develop court-related outcomes measurements that will allow courts to determine their impact on children and families.

In 2009, the National Resource Center on Legal and Judicial Issues (NRCLJI) released the Toolkit for Court Performance Measurement in Child Abuse and Neglect Cases. The toolkit recommended measures for the courts in the areas of safety, permanency, due process, and timeliness. Recognizing that the courts also have the responsibility to ensure that children's education, physical, and emotional needs also are met, in 2010, the National Center for State Courts and Casey Family Programs established a focus group to work on educational well-being outcome measures. In 2011, the NRCLJI, in conjunction with the National Center for State Courts, assembled a focus group to establish measures to determine the courts' success in addressing the physical and emotional well-being of children under their jurisdiction. 

The measures created by the focus groups provided a foundation for court-related well-being outcome measures for children in foster care. Both sets of measures are currently being tested in the field and will be reviewed and evaluated by experts and stakeholders to determine their practicality and usefulness. In the article, Flango notes that the well-being outcome measures must be used to change practice using the philosophy of Continuous Quality Improvement—assessment, feedback, and information to continuously evaluate processes and improve services.

The Judges' Page is a publication of the National Court Appointed Special Advocates (CASA) Association in partnership with the National Council of Juvenile and Family Court Judges and is available on the National CASA website: