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April 2023Vol. 24, No. 3Understanding Judicial Decision-Making and Hearing Quality in Child Welfare Cases

A Children’s Bureau research project is seeking to increase the understanding of judicial decision-making and hearing quality in child welfare cases, including factors that may impact case planning and child and family outcomes. The project will support both the Children’s Bureau and the Office of Planning, Research, and Evaluation (OPRE), an office in the Administration for Children and Families of the U.S. Department of Health and Human Services.

The project includes phases related to knowledge review, study design, and study implementation. Specific activities include the following:

  • Assessing the knowledge base related to judicial decision-making and hearing quality in child welfare cases
  • Developing a conceptual model of key constructs related to judicial decision-making and hearing quality
  • Identifying methods, measures, and data sources that align with the identified constructs
  • Identifying strategies to access reliable administrative data
  • Developing design options for a study (or group of studies) to further examine the topic
  • Conducting pretesting for the selected components of the study design options  
  • Carrying out the design options

Briefs, reports, and webinars that present study findings are available on the project page on the OPRE website. These include a brief on a reasonable efforts study, a brief for legal professionals about research on hearing quality, and a compendium of measures and data sources summarizing how judicial decision-making and hearing quality are measured.   

More information is also available on the James Bell Associates website.