The highest court of each State and territory participating in the Court Improvement Program (CIP) receives a grant from the Children's Bureau to complete a detailed self-assessment and develop and implement recommendations to enhance the court's role in achieving stable, permanent homes for children in foster care. Strategies include, for example, improving the timeliness and quality of hearings, reducing attorney and judicial caseloads, enhancing the quality of legal representation, and using computer technology and management information systems. Use the following resources to learn more about CIPs.
Community Partnerships for Juvenile Dependency Court Improvement
ABA Center on Children and the Law (2005)
Presents a list of potential community partners for States to engage in support of their court improvement efforts.
Child Welfare: The Court Improvement Program
Congressional Research Service (2006)
View Abstract and Document
Provides an overview of the Court Improvement Program, its legislative history, structure, and funding.
National Evaluation of the Court Improvement Program
Explains a project designed to describe the paths followed by State courts to improve their oversight of foster care and adoption cases and analyze the outcomes achieved. The website offers evaluation results, including reviews and syntheses of State and local court reform activities, existing court reform evaluations, and State reassessments.
Some Sample Court Improvement Themes and Strategies to Consider Addressing in a PIP (PDF - 48 KB)
National Child Welfare Resource Center on Legal and Judicial Issues (2007)
Summarizes potential legal-judicial themes and strategies to address during the CFSR process, including delays in the legal process, improved legal representation, foster parent involvement, concurrent planning, and judicial performance.