Each district that applied for CIP funding is expected to meet as many of the following requirements as possible.
- Leadership. Establish and use a steering committee, a group of high-level stakeholders who will be responsible for providing guidance on overall strategic direction of improvement activities.
- Calendaring Improvements. Implement one family/one judge calendaring and block time docketing. Changes in the way cases are calendared have resulted in reductions in (a) cases heard by multiple judges;(b) continuances granted; (c) time to achieve critical junctures in juvenile cases (findings, adjudications, dispositions, etc.); (d) overall duration of cases; and (e) number of out-of-home placements of children.
- Child Planning Conferences. These conferences front load the process by early engagement of parents and families.
- Juvenile Court Rules. Adopt and implement court rules specifying that (a) at the end of each hearing the court will schedule the next hearing, and (b) stricter and more specific policies controlling the granting of continuances will be implemented. Court orders should clearly document reasons for non-compliance with local rules. Continuances should be documented and tracked, and steps taken to address potential sources of delay.
- Appointment of attorneys
for parents and the GAL before the first Non-Secure Custody Hearing.
- Pre-Adjudication through Permanency Hearings. Implement child planning conferences, pre-trial and/or pre-hearing conferences. Explore other means to more effectively "front-load" services for children and families to support the early engagement of parents and families in the permanency planning process.
- Track Compliance with Federal and State Statutory Deadlines. Monitor compliance with Federal and State deadlines using JWise to track activities and generate reports, and schedule and track cases.
- Timely Court Orders. Create and distribute court orders at the end of each court hearing. Courts could use computerized forms or other time-saving procedures and implement local court rules that require prompt preparation and distribution of written court orders to all parties. These orders should contain plain language and clearly stated instructions.
- In-Court Scheduling and Notification. When possible, the court will schedule the next hearing date at the end of each hearing using a docket book or a computer. The next hearing date can be included when orders are issued at the end of court hearings. The person handling the date selection should write down the date and give the information to the parents and their attorney(s). Those persons not present at the hearing would be notified in the traditional manner, such as by mail.
- TPR or Adoption Benchmark Review Hearings. These hearing are for children whose parental rights have been terminated, but who are not in an adoptive home. These may include monthly reviews for children awaiting finalization of adoption with the purpose of determining "reasonable efforts" being made by the child welfare agency to identify an adopting family for these children.
- Rocket Docket. These are brief court reviews of the Child and Family Service Plan objectives with a focus on problems around the adjudication and/or disposition for either the parent or the child. These are "reasonable efforts" review hearings for parents adjudicated as having abused, neglected and/or dependant children.