Child abuse and neglect cases that require the removal of children from their families generally involve hearings before a judge. Courts and child welfare agencies must work hand-in-hand to achieve positive safety and permanency outcomes, including reunification, for children, youth, and families. This section contains resources and information about collaboration between child welfare agencies and courts to better serve children and families.
Addressing Domestic Violence in Juvenile Dependency Mediation (PDF - 368 KB)
National Council of Juvenile and Family Court Judges (2020)
Highlights the successful partnership between the Nevada Supreme Court's Court Improvement Program, the Nevada Division of Child and Family Services, and District Court Family Divisions across the State to pilot a model and support it with data collection, research, and evaluation.
Agencies and Courts: Putting Families Front and Center Activity and Discussion Guide
Capacity Building Center for States (2020)
Explains how agency personnel, court staff, and other stakeholders can collaborate to create a shared vision for child welfare and prioritize reunification. The videos and activities can help build mutual understanding and spark change across the child welfare system.
Capacity Building Center for Courts
Provides resources, webinars, and other information focused on improving child welfare practice through court improvement programs and work with the larger legal community.
CJA 101: Quick Facts About the Children’s Justice Act Grant (PDF - 290 KB)
Capacity Building Center for States
Highlights the focus and eligibility requirements of the Children’s Justice Act grant to improve the investigation and prosecution of child abuse and neglect cases.
Data Sharing: Courts and Child Welfare (PDF - 411 KB)
U.S. Department of Health and Human Services, Administration for Children and Families, Children's Bureau & Child Welfare Capacity Building Center for Courts (2018)
Provides guidance to child welfare agencies and courts to promote data sharing in order to increase and improve collaboration to better serve children and families. The guidance includes information on the benefits of data sharing, data category examples, a sample memorandum of understanding, tips for overcoming barriers, and examples of successful collaboration.
Dependency Courts: Resource Guide
National Center for State Courts (2019)
Features online resources on improving the safety and well-being of children through the collaboration of courts and child welfare agencies in areas such as improving case-flow management, heightening the legal representation of children and parents, and more.
Enhanced Resource Guidelines: Child Welfare Workers' Companion Guide (PDF - 15,738 KB)
National Council of Juvenile and Family Court Judges (2020)
Assists in building knowledge about hearing practice, promoting effective hearing practices, and enhancing court and child welfare agency collaboration in the child welfare system and cases of domestic violence.
Family Justice Initiative
Shows a collaborative effort by the American Bar Association Center on Children and the Law, the Children’s Law Center of California, and the Washington State Office of Public Defense that provides resources, research, and advocacy to support and improve the representation of child and parents in child welfare cases.
Forging Partnerships Across Court-Support Organizations: Lessons From the Human Trafficking and the State Courts Collaborative
Malangone & Martin (2016)
Court Manager, 31(2)
Provides concrete methods that child-service agencies can implement to create collaboration. These lessons were learned from creation and implementation of the Human Trafficking and the State Courts Collaborative.
High Quality Legal Representation for All Parties in Child Welfare Proceedings (PDF - 290 KB)
U.S. Department of Health and Human Services, Administration for Children and Families, Children's Bureau (2017)
Encourages child welfare agencies, courts, administrative officers of the courts, and court improvement programs to work together to ensure parents, children and youth, and child welfare agencies receive high-quality legal representation at all stages of child welfare proceedings.
How Agencies and Courts Improve Outcomes Together [Training]
Capacity Building Center for States (2017)
Offers strategies to enhance collaboration between courts and State child welfare agencies to promote safety, permanency, and child and family well-being. A free account will need to be created to access this training.
Imagine a New Child Welfare System [Video]
U.S. Department of Health and Human Services, Administration for Children and Families, Children's Bureau; Capacity Building Center for Courts; & National Center for State Courts
Discusses the importance of proactively preventing child maltreatment and investing in supports and services and how the legal community can work with partners to serve children and families before maltreatment occurs.
Multidisciplinary Legal Representation and Its Positive Impact on Reunifications
American Bar Association (2020)
Presents two webinars that explain how the multidisciplinary legal representation model for parents and children support reunifications and reduce the likelihood of future contact with the child welfare system.
Multidisciplinary Teams Improve Legal Resolution, Family Preservation in Child Welfare Cases
U.S. Department of Health & Human Services, Administration for Children and Families, Children's Bureau (2019)
Children's Bureau Express, 19(10)
Examines a project of the National Quality Improvement Center on the Representation of Children in the Child Welfare System that found using a multidisciplinary team (MDT) approach to representing children in child protection cases results in quicker resolution of cases and better family preservation than a non-MDT approach.
Spotlight on the Role of the Legal and Judicial Community in Improving Outcomes for Children and Families
U.S. Department of Health and Human Services, Administration for Children and Families, Children's Bureau (Ed.) (2019)
Children’s Bureau Express, 19(10)
Highlights the important partnership between the legal and judicial systems and child welfare. This issue includes a variety of resources on the essential collaboration between attorneys, judges, and child welfare agencies.
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Child Welfare Information Gateway
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