• June 2006
  • Vol. 7, No. 5

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Implementing Foster Care Reforms for Courts

A number of States have formed court commissions or task forces to implement reforms to their foster care systems and to court systems that impact foster care. These reforms center on recommendations made by the Pew Commission on Children in Foster Care, including:

  • Ensuring that children’s rights to safety, permanency, and well-being are met in a timely and complete manner by having courts track cases and by eliminating court barriers to timeliness
  • Promoting collaboration between courts and child welfare agencies
  • Identifying ways for children and families to have effective representation in courts
  • Encouraging chief justices and State court leadership to act as champions for children in their court

Two recently released reports outline strategies that States are using to respond to the Pew Commission's recommendations:

  • A national conference in September 2005, Justice for Children—Changing Lives by Changing Systems, co-sponsored by the National Center for State Courts (NCSC) and other national organizations, focused on the development of State action plans to enact these recommendations. These strategies are detailed in a report of the same name available on the NCSC website:
    www.ncsconline.org/WC/Publications/CallToActionInside.pdf (PDF - 1540 KB)

  • Home At Last, a national, nonpartisan education and outreach project funded by the Pew Charitable Trusts, has released a brief report, Pursuing Foster Care Reform—State Court Commissions and Task Forces, that summarizes the accomplishments of States' collaborative efforts to date. Some of these efforts include the creation of legislative task forces, blue ribbon commissions, advisory committees, and supreme court task forces. The report is available online:
    http://fostercarehomeatlast.org/docs/files/CollaborationChart.pdf (PDF - 266 KB)

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