Court Improvement Program News and Report - 2nd Quarter 2017

11/28/2017 3:22:17 PM

During the past quarter (April through June, 2017), the Court Improvement Program (CIP) has focused on three primary strategies: improving timeliness to permanency for children; increasing judicial, attorney, and stakeholder’s knowledge and expertise; and building systemic capacity through continual quality improvement (CQI) and data exchange. 


CIP’s principal initiatives to help reduce barriers to timely permanency for children included supporting the Community Improvement Councils (CIC) in each judicial district.  During the 2016 CIC Summit, the CICs developed aggressive action plans for the upcoming year. The CIP Coordinator attended and participated in CIC meetings in the majority of the judicial districts throughout the State, providing support and information to assist with the implementation of the action plans.

To help improve timeliness to permanency and build systemic capacity, CIP and DCFS launched a joint project, the statewide Juvenile Dependency Mediation Program (JDMP) on July 1, 2016. Since that time, 84 mediations have been conducted throughout the state with 71, or 85 percent, resulting in full or partial agreement.  Ten more mediations have already been scheduled for the first quarter of the new fiscal year.  The use of mediation is increasing and is successful. It helped 141 children achieve permanency at an average of cost of $274.47 per child.   

According to the National Council of Juvenile and Family Court Judges’ (NCJFCJ) process evaluation of the JDMP, stakeholders across the state are actively supportive of the mediation process.  Ninety-eight percent (98%) of the stakeholders expressed overall satisfaction with JDMP.  Ninety-nine percent (99%) of stakeholders felt that the mediation was conducted fairly, and that they were treated with respect. Ninety-nine percent (99%) of both stakeholders and parents felt that they had an opportunity to voice their opinion. One hundred percent (100%) of the parents participating in mediation felt fairly treated and that the mediator had clearly explained the process.  Ninety-five percent (95%) of the parents felt that they were treated with respect and that they were part of the solution to the problems discussed.  NCJFCJ completed another process evaluation of the 2nd JD’s mediation program and the 2nd JD’s impact evaluation is nearly complete.

Since the On-Line Attorney Dependency training was launched the end of January; 52 attorneys and CASAs from across the state have registered to take the course. Several courts are requiring contract attorneys to complete the course. Others are also suggesting the course for their CASAs. 

The Statewide Collaborative on Education, Child Welfare, and the Courts with technical assistance from the ABA Center on Children and the Law is developing plans to implement AB491 of the 2017 Session, which incorporates the provisions of the federal Every Student Succeeds Act regarding foster children into the Nevada Revised Statutes.   DCFS and Nevada Department of Education (NDE) are working to develop statewide educational stability documents including a basic factsheet on ESSA and AB491, MOUs between child welfare and school districts, best interest decision-making processes and forms, and sample local transportation procedures. As a result of the technical assistance from the ABA Center on Children and the Law for which CIP obtained funding from the Walter S. Johnson Foundation, NDE will receive assistance developing a joint training for school districts and child welfare regarding developing MOUs.  They will also work with NDE’s IT department on the federally required State Report Card on foster care.  The Collaborative is also working on an academic plan template that could be put into Infinite Campus, the education database used by school districts and NDE.

The U.S. Department of Health and Human Services’ Children’s Bureau notified CIP on June 23, 2017 that it was awarded a total of $137,072 for the federal fiscal year 2017 Basic Grant; and $127,975 each for the  fiscal year 2017 CIP Data and Training Grants.  

DCFS notified CIP on May 31, 2017 that it had been awarded a $65,000 VOCA grant to continue JDMP.  CIP was invited to apply for additional VOCA funding to expand JDMP.