Washington Courts: Press Release Detail
Washington Courts Join National Campaign to Reform Foster CareApril 18, 2006
“A National Call to Action,” a comprehensive, state-by-state plan to reduce the amount of time that abused and neglected children spend in foster care, is being released this month by the
Bridge attended the “National Judicial Leadership Summit for Protection of Children: Changing Lives by Changing Systems” in September 2005 in
· Exploring creation of a dedicated juvenile and family law bench.
· Developing a judicial training academy on dependency (child welfare) cases.
· Improving legal representation for indigent children (lack of representation is a common source of court delays).
· Integrating alternative dispute resolution processes into child welfare cases.
· Establishing an annual audit of all active dependency cases.
· Integrating evidence-based programs into child welfare cases.
The median stay in foster care for
Both the Supreme Court Commission and the national campaign grew from a 2004 report by the Pew Commission on Children in Foster Care, which found that changes in two arenas could significantly improve the lives of foster children — federal funding mechanisms for child welfare, and court processes. The Pew Commission report is available at http://pewfostercare.org.
The Supreme Court Commission on Children in Foster Care sponsored the state court system’s first National Adoption Day in November, 2005, where more than 50 foster children were adopted into permanent families in courts throughout the state. The effort publicizes the number of foster children in
The commission is also working on expansion of Unified Family Courts around the state, establishing court performance measures for child welfare cases, creating court rules to expedite child welfare appeals, developing a judicial training academy on child dependency, and increasing child representation.
A statewide youth summit for foster children is also being planned for the fall by the Supreme Court, Casey Family Programs, the Office of the Superintendent of Public Instruction, Children's Administration and other private providers.
State court systems throughout the
“While foster care is often a necessary component in stabilizing the life of an abused or neglected child, it must be as brief as possible,” Bridge said. “The impacts of living without a family can last a lifetime. As quickly as possible, we must provide these children with a permanent, loving home.”
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