Description of original award (Fiscal Year 2021, $3,129,183)
The National Council of Juvenile and Family Court Judges (NCJFCJ) has a rich history of training judicial and court personnel. This experience, backed by evaluation, has been shown to improve court processes, services provided, and ultimately outcomes for children and families who enter the juvenile and family courts. The NCJFCJ will use its experience and expertise to make system improvements in court processes that will improve the judicial system's handling of child abuse, neglect, and related cases, with a specific emphasis on the role of the courts in addressing reasonable efforts that can safely avoid unnecessary and unnecessarily prolonged foster care placement. The NCJFCJ will accomplish this by: developing a model approach/procedures for coordinating information and services for families involved in court-related child abuse and neglect cases; developing training and technical assistance that supports this model approach to coordinated case management by the courts; implementing evidence-based practices to improve the courts’ handling of child abuse, neglect, and related cases; developing and guiding administrative improvements in juvenile and family courts; developing and delivering training and technical assistance to judicial personnel and attorneys in juvenile and family courts, including specialized training on handling families impacted by opioids; and developing and disseminating best practices, innovations, and lessons learned from this model project at the national level. These system reforms will be directed at the local, state, and national levels with a concentration on a system change collaborative, and they will be achieved by: targeted training for state court and tribal court judges and other juvenile and family court professionals; onsite tailored technical assistance; assessment of court practices; and dissemination of strategies for improved practice in juvenile and family courts. The NCJFCJ will also develop and deliver specialized training for judicial personnel on handling families impacted by opioids. The NCJFCJ has the ability to provide direct onsite technical assistance to ensure that learning is translated into practice. The NCJFCJ, with the assistance of OJJDP and its partners, has a proven track record of successful projects that have led to improved practice, collaboration, and outcomes. The NCJFCJ demonstration sites continue to pioneer system reform efforts as laboratories for systems change, and they stand ready and available as training sites for other courts across the nation. The NCJFCJ's approach to training and technical assistance has yielded numerous positive reforms, and it will continue to do so under the current proposed project.