- September 2005
- Vol. 6, No. 7
New Resources for Dependency Courts
New resources are available to facilitate collaboration between child welfare workers and court personnel involved with dependency courts. By promoting collaboration, these resources may help child welfare and court personnel eliminate court delays for children in foster care, improve educational services, and give every child and family a voice in the court process. The resources are described below.
A National Curriculum for Caseflow Management in Juvenile Dependency Cases Involving Foster Care is designed to identify and eliminate court delays that often hinder the timely resolution of child welfare cases. The curriculum provides an overview of the fundamental role and purpose of the courts in child welfare and how best to fulfill this role. Under the leadership of a judge, workshops team child welfare personnel with court administrators and attorneys who represent children and parents. Interactive discussions and team activities are designed to foster collaboration among the wide variety of individuals engaged in child welfare. Development of the curriculum was funded by the Pew Charitable Trusts. Copies are available online at http://jeritt.msu.edu/Documents/National_Curriculum_Final_06-21-05.pdf (PDF 260 KB).
Fostering the Future, a DVD from the Pew Commission on Children in Foster Care, comes 1 year after the Pew Commission issued its final report recommending reforms of the juvenile and family courts and of Federal child welfare financing. The DVD features firsthand accounts from children, parents, judges, administrators, and others to depict the high-stakes decisions courts make, as well as the obstacles that can prevent children from exiting foster care. The DVD and companion guide are available at no cost from the Pew Commission website at http://pewfostercare.org/docs/index.php?DocID=55.
Asking the Right Questions: A Judicial Checklist to Ensure That the Educational Needs of Children in Foster Care Are Being Addressed, focuses on educational needs of children in out-of-home placements. When children and youth are placed in foster care, their education may be disrupted due to a change in schools and delays in enrollment. In the long term, these children face enormous obstacles to completing their education, which can adversely affect their ability to grow into self-sufficient adults. Dependency judges can play a significant role in ensuring more stable educational placements for foster children, as outlined in this publication from the National Council of Juvenile and Family Court Judges. The publication is available, with registration, at www.ncjfcj.org/content/view/340/322.
An Information Memorandum (IM) on the topic of Court Involvement in the Child and Family Services Review (CFSR) was recently released by the Children's Bureau in the Administration for Children and Families. The purpose is to clarify requirements regarding the involvement of State court representatives in the CFSR and Program Improvement Plan processes.
A model Memorandum of Understanding designed to improve collaboration between State child welfare agencies and State court systems on the CFSRs was developed by the National Child Welfare Resource Center on Legal and Judicial Issues. This sample memorandum was designed to be consistent with the Children's Bureau's IM on this topic. (Editor's note: This link is no longer available.)
The Judges' Page Newsletter, June 2005, provides a collection of resources focused on improving the educational outcomes of foster youth and helping judges become effective educational advocates. This electronic publication is available on the National CASA Association website at www.nationalcasa.org/JudgesPage/Index.htm.