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March 2024Vol. 25, No. 2Toolkit Provides Equity Improvement Strategies for Courts and Justice Systems

The National Council of Juvenile and Family Court Judges (NCJFCJ) developed a toolkit designed to help juvenile and family court judges enhance diversity, equity, inclusion, and belonging (DEIB) within court systems.

DEIB principles are critical in a judicial context and can mitigate unconscious biases, increase understanding of diverse backgrounds and experiences, and improve public trust in the courts. In addition to diversity, equity, inclusion, and belonging, the toolkit addresses the importance of implementing trauma-informed practices within the judicial system.

The toolkit begins with background information to anchor DEIB efforts. This includes sections on the importance of understanding the impact of colorblind racism on court decision-making and the role of judicial leadership in transforming court systems. The toolkit then shifts to various action plans judicial leadership can implement, including the following:

  • Identifying and correcting microaggressions and cultural insensitivity
  • Ensuring safety, agency, and social support from the consumer’s perspective
  • Addressing pushback and resistance to DEIB efforts

In addition, the toolkit provides guidance for promoting DEIB through mentoring and support, training and education, community engagement, court environment, judicial leadership and advocacy, data collection and analysis, policy and procedure review, and more.

The toolkit was developed in 2022 and 2023, and the effort was led by an expert panel from NCJFCJ and featured partnerships with individuals with lived experience, judicial leaders, and experts on bias and trauma. Access Improving Diversity, Equity, Inclusion, and Belonging Through a Race Equity Lens: A Toolkit for Juvenile and Family Court Judges on the NCJFCJ website.