1 Agency/Court Collaboration in the CFSR: ENGAGING COURTS AND THE LEGAL SYSTEM The National Child Welfare Resource Center For Organizational Improvement.
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Presentation on theme: "1 Agency/Court Collaboration in the CFSR: ENGAGING COURTS AND THE LEGAL SYSTEM The National Child Welfare Resource Center For Organizational Improvement."— Presentation transcript:
1 Agency/Court Collaboration in the CFSR: ENGAGING COURTS AND THE LEGAL SYSTEM The National Child Welfare Resource Center For Organizational Improvement Presents... Developed By: American Bar Association Center On Children And The Law
2 Court Improvement Program (CIP) Overview Est. in 1994 in response to the expanded role of courts in achieving stable, permanent homes for children in foster care. Grants are awarded to the highest court of each participating state. Recipients complete a detailed self- assessment, develop recommendations to improve the court system and implement the recommended reforms.
3 Involving Courts and the Legal System in the CFSR “Actively involving courts and attorneys in the CFSR can improve the CFSR's quality.”
4 Involving Courts and the Legal System in the CFSR Benefits to the agency, children and families: Identify subtle CFSR legal and judicial issues; Ease the burden of CFSRs; Provide political support for agency goals; Develop and implement a cooperative strategy for the courts and the bar to help achieve the CFSR goals; Help the agency be more effective when working with courts on the implementation of the PIP; Help foster court cooperation and buy-in to the PIP.
5 Involving Courts and the Legal System in the CFSR Court/legal system involvement is also important to court improvement: The CFSR will strongly influence the state child welfare agency’s reform agenda; The agency’s reform efforts will affect court reform efforts; CFSRs can either maintain the agency's focus on court improvement or deflect focus; Legal system operations are integral to the CFSR; Important legal and judicial issues are sometimes not apparent to the state child protection agency. Knowledge of the CFSR Items may benefit court improvement efforts.
6 Encouraging Court and Legal System Involvement Carrots: The CFSR will set the agency's reform agenda for the near future; Courts can help shape this agenda and keep legal and judicial issues at the center;
7 Encouraging Court and Legal System Involvement Carrots (cont.): Improvements that courts might get onto the agency's agenda through the CFSR; Improve agency court reports and testimony, Upgrade the legal representation of the agency, Assist judges to implement ASFA, Help courts obtain better outcome data, Get caseworkers to attend court hearings more consistently, Work together to improve court resources, and Improve state law to ensure better and timelier services for families.
8 Potential Court and Legal System CFSR Participants Chief Justice of the state’s highest court State Court Administrator Director or representative of state CIP Representatives of court administrators and court clerks Local presiding judges Leaders or representatives of the State Council of Juvenile and Family Court Judges
9 Potential Court and Legal System CFSR Participants Continued Selected judges President of State Bar Association and leader of section of bar dealing with child protection Representatives of attorneys representing the government Law School representatives Director of state or local Foster Care Review program Director of state or local GAL or CASA program Selected child welfare agency administrators and managers Selected child welfare agency specialists and line supervisors
10 Encouraging Court and Legal System Involvement IDEA - Involve different people during different parts of the process. One group can help prepare written legal descriptions in the statewide assessment at the beginning of the CFSR. Other participants can help the agency pick legal representatives. Additional groups of volunteers may be selected to be interviewed. Others can help the agency develop strategies for implementation.
11 Legal System Involvement at Key CFSR Stages Before the CFSR begins: In preparation for the CFSR, the state agency should make advanced contact with the legal system; This is the ideal time period to recruit court/legal system involvement in the CFSR; These meetings allow the agency to describe the CFSR process and explain why the CFSR is important to courts.
12 Legal System Involvement at Key CFSR Stages Information that should be shared during meetings in advance of the CFSR: Brief, written materials that describe the CFSR process and explain how courts may be involved; An overview of the results of the most recent CFSR and PIP; CFSR materials developed by the federal government; Agreements on the use of information provided by the courts.
13 Legal System Involvement at Key CFSR Stages The statewide assessment provides a systematic picture of the state system using seven systemic factors: 1. Statewide information system; 2. Case review system; 3.Quality assurance system; 4. Staff training; 5. Service array; 6. Agency responsiveness to the community; 7. Foster and adoptive parent, licensing, recruitment, and retention. Note: For each systemic factor, there are from one to five sets of questions, for a total of 23.
14 Legal and Judicial info to include in the Narrative Description 1. A general description of courts and judges handling child protection cases: The organizational structure of the courts hearing child protection cases and juvenile justice cases; Key organizational factors regarding judicial operational; Judicial infrastructure as it affects operations; Key statutes, rules, forms, and case law relevant to each of the above.
15 Legal and Judicial info to include in the Narrative Description 2. Steps in the judicial process specifically relevant to Title IV-B and IV-E requirements: Laws and procedures concerning "contrary to the welfare" and "reasonable efforts" findings; Laws and procedures concerning reviews, permanency hearings, filing of TPR petitions, foster parent participation, and approving and reviewing the case plan; The role of courts in reviews, permanency hearings, filing of TPR petitions, foster parent participation, and approving and reviewing the case plan; A description of TPR proceedings.
16 Legal and Judicial info to include in the Narrative Description 3. Legal representation of the government and other parties in child protection cases: A general description of the organizational structure of public and non-profit law offices; Key organizational factors regarding attorney operations; Role of attorneys in different stages of the legal process; Training for attorneys; Statutes, rules, and case law relevant to legal representation.
17 Legal and Judicial info to include in the Narrative Description 4. Legal and judicial strengths and barriers that reinforce or weaken state operations. 5. Statutes, rules, forms and case law governing agency operations and the delivery of services to children and families; Agency liaison with the courts and legal system; Legal structure of the service array; Training for other participants in the legal system; Legal framework for licensing and recruitment of foster and adoptive homes.
18 Legal and Judicial info to include in the Narrative Description The federal government and the state work together to prepare a quantitative analysis of state operations, including; Assembling and analyzing data on a number of specific measures of child safety and permanency; The data cover a specified period of time, depending on the date of the CFSR. This is number crunching time!
19 Statistical Description of State Operations Sample
20 Assessing the State SAFETY Timeliness in initiating child abuse and neglect investigations. Recurrence of abuse or neglect by parents. Services to protect children at home and prevent removal. Risk of harm to child including abuse or neglect of child while in foster care.
21 Assessing the State PERMANENCY Foster care reentry. Stability of foster placement. Permanency goal for the child. Independent living services. Achievement of adoption. Permanency goal of OPPLA. Proximity of foster care placement. Placement with siblings. Visits with parents and siblings. Preserving connections with relatives Relative placement. Relationship of child in care with parents.
22 Assessing the State CHILD AND FAMILY WELL-BEING Needs and services of child, parents, foster parents. Child and family involvement in case planning. Worker visits with the child. Worker visits with parents. Educational needs of the child. Physical health of the child. Mental health of the child.
23 The Onsite Review Purpose - To gain an in depth understanding of the federally specified outcomes and systemic factors. Takes place in 3 locations in the state. Teams perform detailed reviews of a cases as well as interviews with key people involved in those cases.
24 The CFSR Final Report Purpose - Specify whether the state is or is not in "substantial conformity" with each of the seven general safety, permanency, and well-being outcomes and the seven systemic measures. The final report not only says whether or not there is substantial conformity regarding each systemic measure, but also discusses the strengths and weaknesses related to each.
25 Legal System Involvement in the PIP Purpose - The PIP addresses each of the outcome areas for which the state is not in "substantial conformity" and is designed to correct weaknesses identified in the final report. PIP may last up to two years. At the conclusion, there will be an evaluation to determine whether the state's PIP has been successful. Potential penalties if state fails to meet its PIP goals.