Chapter 1: Major Accomplishments in
1996 and 1997
Model Courts Program
Since 1992, OJJDP has provided funds to the National Council of Juvenile and Family Court Judges (NCJFCJ) in Reno, NV, to support a nationwide program to improve how courts handle child abuse and neglect cases. The Victims Model Court Project, recognizing that foster care is a last resort and temporary solution, moves abused and neglected children through the court process in a more timely manner and into safe and permanent homes. The cornerstone of this project is a widely acclaimed publication, Resource Guidelines: Improving Court Practice in Child Abuse and Neglect Cases, published by NCJFCJ in 1995. It has been endorsed by the Coordinating Council, the Conference of Chief Justices, and the American Bar Association (ABA). Courts nationwide use it as a blueprint to assess barriers to permanency and to implement systemic change to benefit children.
The Victims Model Court Project initially focused on Hamilton County Juvenile Court in Cincinnati, OH, a program referred to by the ABA as "one court that works." In the past 3 years, 12 additional courts have been named as models for improving practice. They are located in Tucson, AZ; San Jose, CA; Miami, FL; Honolulu, HI; Chicago, IL; Louisville, KY; Newark, NJ; Reno, NV; Nashville, TN; El Paso, TX; Salt Lake City, UT; and Alexandria, VA. In addition to reengineering their own systems, these courts help other courts across the Nation by hosting site visits and providing training and written materials.
During the past 2 years, NCJFCJ has conducted many training presentations at national, State, and local conferences and seminars and also has developed a comprehensive curriculum in permanency planning. The grantee also has provided technical assistance to courts nationwide both directly and through written products, including a Technical Assistance Bulletin series that provides timely topical information to help courts improve their daily practice dependency cases. During the past 6 months, NCJFCJ responded to more than 700 requests for technical assistance.