Reno – The Nevada Court Improvement Program and the National Council of Juvenile and Family Court Judges (NCJFCJ) hosted leaders from all 10 Nevada judicial districts for the Nevada Community Improvement Council (CIC) 2014 Summit on Oct. 2-3 in Reno, Nev.
The purpose for this annual training, held at the National Judicial College on the University of Nevada, Reno campus, was to discuss the principles of quality hearings and enhance practices throughout every judicial district in Nevada. Each district was represented by a lead judge or designee who selected teams made up of judicial officers, court staff, attorneys, district attorneys, deputy attorneys general, social workers, Court Appointed Special Advocates (CASA) and Guardian ad litems (GALS), and agency administrators.
Judge Stephen Rubin (Ret.) from Tucson, Ariz. and Nevada Supreme Court Justice Nancy M. Saitta led the majority of training during the summit.
Justice Saitta noted the high level engagement of all ten judicial district CICs as they discussed and developed action plans to implement some of the new principles they learned.
“The CICs have worked hard to identify and improve the time to permanency in their jurisdictions,” said Saitta. “For example, over the last three years, the time to termination of parental rights has decreased statewide by 165 days. I anticipate that each CIC will consider and implement information and best practices urged by Judge Rubin to continue improving the processing of dependency cases statewide.”
Judge Rubin also introduced the participants to the new Resource Guideline Benchcards. Nevada is the first state to receive these tools. Each benchcard focused on the best practices for the preliminary protective, adjudication, disposition and permanency hearings. Based on post-evaluation surveys, the recurring theme for the judges and other judicial stakeholders as they left the two-day summit was the need for family engagement and representation in the hearing process, and the importance of making findings on the record.
“Having attended the summit for three years now, I too believe this was the best Community Improvement Council Summit yet,” said the Honorable Michael R. Montero, Sixth Judicial District Court. “It was a wonderful combination of outstanding presenters and participants who engaged in lively discussions on very relevant and current topics. The judges’ round table was a perfect addition to the agenda wherein it allowed us the opportunity to share, in a confidential environment, concerns and creative solutions to many issues that we deal with in cases involving children in need of protection. I highly encourage the Nevada Supreme Court and the National Council of Juvenile and Family Court Judges to continue to provide high quality training to judges, attorneys, social workers and other practitioners in child dependency cases that is afforded by this Summit.”
“The Nevada Community Improvement Council (CIC) Summit provided the unique opportunity to share the expertise and experiences of judges and other community partners from across the state as to how to implement best practices in Juvenile Dependency cases,” said the Honorable Frank Sullivan, Eighth Judicial District Court. “Moreover, we were able to develop specific strategies and practices to address the particular barriers that our jurisdiction is experiencing in regards to the implementation of our best practices plan of action. Overall, the knowledge and insight provided at the CIC Summit as to the principles of quality hearings will serve our jurisdiction well in enhancing our court hearing practices and achieving the best outcomes for each and every child in the child welfare system.”
Founded in 1937, the Reno, Nev.-based National Council of Juvenile and Family Court Judges, is the nation’s oldest judicial membership organization and focused on improving the effectiveness of our nation’s juvenile and family courts. A leader in continuing education opportunities, research, and policy development in the field of juvenile and family justice, the 2,000-member organization is unique in providing practice-based resources to jurisdictions and communities nationwide.
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