Court Improvement Program (CIP) grants awarded by the Children’s Bureau to state courts were reauthorized for 2012-2016. The new Program Instruction for the CIP grants emphasizes Continuous Quality Improvement and the data collection and performance measurements that are required to achieve CQI.
Effective for the 2012 CIP grant applications, state courts were required either to
- report five performance measures of the timeliness of court events, or
- submit a plan showing how the five performance measures will be reported no later than 2013.
The five timeliness measures, and the data elements required to calculate them, are
- Time to first permanency hearing (Toolkit Measure 4G)
- Time to subsequent permanency hearings
- Time to permanent placement (Toolkit Measure 4A)
- Time to Termination of Parental Rights (TPR) Petition (Toolkit Measure 4H)
- Time to termination of parental rights (Toolkit Measure 4I)
The reportable measure is the median length of time for all of the child protection cases that were closed during the prior 12-month period. The data elements required to calculate these five performance measures are:
- Case type = dependency, neglect, or abuse (child welfare cases)
- Case identifier
- Child or family identifier
- Date initial child welfare petition was filed (or date of emergency removal)
- Whether child was removed from the home
- Type of permanent placement achieved (e.g., reunification, adoption, legal guardianship)
- Date of permanent placement
- Date the initial permanency hearing was conducted
- Dates subsequent permanency hearings were conducted
- Date TPR Petition was filed
- Date final TPR order was effective (i.e., any appeals were concluded, and child was legally available for adoption)
Key points for Data and Technology leaders:
- Training and technical assistance are available through the Children’s Bureau’s TTA Network. For example, the NRC-CWDT invites you to participate in the FY2013 Peer-to-Peer Group “Yours, Mine, and Ours: Using Agency and Court Data and Technology to Enable CQI.”
- CQI means “using data to identify, inform and systematically monitor the implementation and results of programs and interventions in an ongoing fashion.”
- One of the key Capacity Building strategies is “collecting data and developing data collection infrastructure, sharing data with the . . . child welfare agency, State departments of education and other State agencies responsible for child well-being (including automated efforts to achieve interoperability with other systems through the use of a national data exchange standard such as the National Information Exchange Model [NIEM], and bi-directional interfaces with Statewide Automated Child Welfare Information Systems [SACWIS]).”
- “Funds from the CIP data collection and analysis grant must be used to improve proceedings related to child abuse and neglect cases. Funds cannot be used to build segments of a management information system (MIS) that are intended for other types of cases.” However, several appropriate funding approaches for technology projects are suggested:
- “pay for a proportionate share of the common architecture of a larger specialized segment of the MIS (i.e., for family court or juvenile justice proceedings)”
- “pay for the child abuse and neglect portion of the MIS or of a larger segment of the MIS”
- “adapt or customize existing MIS systems specifically for abuse and neglect”
- “create abuse and neglect modules within the MIS system”
- “pay for interfaces for exchange of information with the child welfare agency (SACWIS) and others”
- “pay for projects to share data with other entities”
In addition, “State courts are highly encouraged to explore and discuss with the . . . child welfare agency the possibility of implementing information sharing interfaces with existing SACWIS systems that support the calculation of court-specific performance measures, as such activity may be eligible for SACWIS funding.”
Please email firstname.lastname@example.org to request more information. State Court Improvement Programs and State and Tribal child welfare agencies can request tailored TA by contacting their Regional Office or NRC-CWDT.
 Court Performance Measures in Child Abuse and Neglect Cases, available at http://www.ojjdp.gov/publications/courttoolkit.html.
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