Key focuses on family violence, child abuse and neglect, juvenile justice, and pandemic research and court response
(Reno, Nev.) – The National Council of Juvenile and Family Court Judges (NCJFCJ) announced today that it received a record $15.6 million spanning 54 new and continuing awards for the 2020-2021 fiscal year; a record amount in the organization’s 84-year history. The NCJFCJ is devoted to ensuring justice and improving outcomes for families and children in courts nationwide.
The NCJFCJ is the nation’s oldest judicial membership organization, providing judges with ongoing education, training, and technical assistance to make the best possible decisions for children and families in our courts.
The $15.6 million in funding will support NCJFCJ projects focused on a multitude of areas that include: domestic violence; child protection and custody; child welfare and foster care; military-connected families; dating violence; tribal and state court collaboration; sexual assault; domestic child sex trafficking; juvenile justice; trauma-informed justice; research and data; and more.
“As a judicial system, we have an opportunity to reshape and advance the court system and delivery of services to truly meet the needs of those we serve,” said Judge Dan H. Michael, NCJFCJ president. “The NCJFCJ continues to be at the forefront, remaining proactive in addressing the multitude of issues that affect the lives of children, families, and survivors of violence.”
The NCJFCJ continues its partnership with the State Justice Institute (SJI) on the creation of a National Bench Card Resource Center for easy web access to questions and recommendations to help juvenile and family court professionals make decisions in the best interest of children, families, and survivors of violence, as well as, the Courts in the Era of #WeToo project, which will address sexual assault and harassment that may be in the court system. Additionally, SJI is funding a research project, led by the NCJFCJ’s National Center for Juvenile Justice, based in Pittsburgh, to identify promising practices in pandemic responses in juvenile and family courts.
“The variety of projects and initiatives funded this year reflect the expansive work the NCJFCJ does for juvenile and family courts, which has evolved through virtual opportunities while improving response even during a pandemic,” said Judge Michael.
Additionally, the NCJFCJ’s program on child abuse training and court personnel through a grant from the U.S. Department of Justice, Office on Juvenile Justice and Delinquency Prevention, was increased by $3.1 million to include new initiatives for judges such as the development of a multi-disciplinary domestic child sex trafficking institute and a new website of the Enhanced Resource Guidelines, which is the blueprint for training in child abuse and neglect cases. With support from partner organization, Casey Family Programs, the NCJFCJ, along with a national advisory committee, will create a national model code for child abuse and neglect proceedings with a goal to safely reduce the number of children in foster care and address racial disparities in the child welfare and court system.
The NCJFCJ continues to be the leader in judicial education and training in addressing family violence and domestic relations through newly funded projects that address the needs of professionals, such as Guardians ad Litem and custody evaluators, as they investigate and influence custody outcomes for survivors of domestic violence and their families. The NCJFCJ is also working to increase the capacity of judges and court personnel to intervene effectively in teen dating violence cases.
“After a challenging year, our judges and system professionals have demonstrated a commitment to rethink traditional court practices to ensure that children, families, and survivors of violence have access to the courts in a safe and productive way,” said Joey Orduña Hastings, NCJFCJ chief executive officer. “For an 84-year-old organization, it’s important to continue to work with our membership and courts throughout the country, both state and tribal courts, to identify promising and innovative practices that have been implemented as a result of this pandemic. This year’s record-setting $15.6 million in awards enables us to further evolve and adapt our mission to address juvenile, family, and domestic violence issues.”
About the National Council of Juvenile and Family Court Judges (NCJFCJ):
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.