New Guidelines Seek to Improve How Courts Process Child Abuse and Neglect Cases
The National Council of Juvenile and Family Court Judges has released updated guidelines to help courts improve their handling of child abuse and neglect cases.
The “Enhanced Resource Guidelines” build on an earlier document and combine it with previously issued adoption and permanency guidelines to account for the most recent changes or additions in legal requirements.
The report provides guidance for judges on how to:
- make decisions regarding safety, permanency, and well-being at every stage of the process.
- develop effective findings based on assessment of the facts, the individual needs of the child and family, the law, and the best available research and science.
- hold other players in the system accountable by asking questions that raise the practice expectations for all those who come to court.
“The guidelines cover all stages of the court process, from the preliminary protective hearing until juvenile and family court involvement has ended,” according to the report. “The guidelines assume that the court will remain involved until after the child has been safely returned home, placed in a new, secure, and legally permanent home – whether through adoption or legal custody – or the court’s jurisdiction has otherwise ended.”