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“Diversion Project Matrix: A Report From Four Sites Examining the Court’s Role in Diverting Families From Traditional Child Welfare Services Into Community-Based Programs.”

National Council of Juvenile and Family Court Judges., Monica
June 4, 2015

Source: National Council of Juvenile and Family Court Judges Research report.

The four sites are Hamilton County Juvenile Court in Cincinnati, Ohio; Family Court of Hawaii in Honolulu, Hawaii; Superior Court of Santa Clara County in San Jose, CA.; and the Jefferson County Family Court in Louisville, KY. This is a seminal report that describes initial efforts to implement the model in these four jurisdictions. The Diversion Model focuses on three directions for change. First, use community alternatives that address the complexity of family problems and draw upon family strengths to safely divert families from traditional child protective services. Second, design child protective services to be more responsive to the variety of families’ and communities’ needs. Third, develop new partnerships between local communities and State agencies for the protection of children. Fourth, emphasize court oversight of these efforts so that all members of the child welfare, social services, and justice systems are responsible for the outcomes. Each Diversion Project Model Court Lead Judge established a multidisciplinary team that collaborated and developed a community-based plan to divert children from unnecessary court involvement and long-term foster care while addressing the needs of their families. Each team began the project period by identifying a specific diversion goal to implement. By the end of the project, each team had achieved the designated diversion goal and had begun implementing related projects. Teams are eager to bring family diversion efforts to the next level by examining conflict resolution models, refining staff competence and skills, distilling project experiences into written form through a new training curriculum, and providing national training and technical assistance. Expertise gained through project activities over the past 2 years has greatly impacted the handling of child abuse and neglect cases in each of the Model Court sites; the resulting improvements are being recognized as models to be replicated


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