The vital and important work of the NCJFCJ began in 1937 when a group of judges came together looking to improve the effectiveness of the nation's juvenile courts. And over the past 78 years, NCJFCJ has sought to address the myriad of issues in juvenile and family justice courts, among them:
- Child abuse and neglect
- Adoption and foster care
- Juvenile justice
- Family violence
- Victims of juvenile offenders
- Military issues
- Alcohol and drug abuse
- Termination of parental rights
- Custody and visitation
- Minority issues
Since 1969, the NCJFCJ has been affiliated with and headquartered on the University of Nevada Reno (UNR) campus. In 2016, the organization outgrew its University of Nevada Reno office and in April 2016 moved into new space in downtown Reno. The NCJFCJ will remain affiliated with UNR.
One of the largest and oldest judicial membership organizations in the nation, the NCJFCJ serves an estimated 30,000 professionals in the juvenile and family justice system including judges, referees, commissioners, court masters and administrators, social and mental health workers, police, and probation officers.
For those involved with juvenile, family, and domestic violence cases, the NCJFCJ provides the resources, knowledge, and training to improve the lives of families and children seeking justice. The NCJFCJ resources include:
- Cutting-edge educational programs
- Wide-ranging technical assistance
- Nationally respected research to assist juvenile and family courts
- Unique advanced degree programs for judges and other court professionals offered in conjunction with the University of Nevada, Reno and the National Judicial College
Current major NCJFCJ initiatives:
- NCJFCJ is considered a leader in the provision of cutting-edge educational programming to professionals in the juvenile and family court system. Specifically, the NCJFCJ’s Annual Conference, held in July, offers participants that are interested in juvenile and family law the opportunity to attend educational sessions highlighting recent research, trends and innovative policies; current Supreme Court decisions; self-care and skill building techniques; and replication strategies for emerging programs and services from communities around the country. Additional audience specific conferences are held every two years including the National Conference on Juvenile Justice and the Institute for New Juvenile and Family Court Judges. The most compelling hallmark of an NCJFCJ conference is the opportunity for participants to connect with colleagues and share experiences to better serve families involved in the juvenile and family court system.
- Model Courts, Project ONE, and Implementation Site Projects – a national network of over 100 juvenile and family courts that serve as “labs for change” that develop and test promising practice, and subsequently serve as models and mentors to jurisdictions nationwide. Central to these projects are cutting edge and widely used NCJFCJ guidebooks, such as the Enhanced Resource Guidelines and the Juvenile Delinquency Guidelines
- Juvenile Drug Court Training and Technical Assistance Project – working in collaboration with Office of Justice Programs to help juvenile drug courts implement or enhance their juvenile drug courts
- National Resource Center on Legal and Judicial Issues – a partnership between NCJFCJ, the American Bar Association and the National Center for State Courts that delivers critical training and technical assistance to jurisdictions around the country, including NCJFCJ’s foundational judicial leadership curriculum and training evaluation guide and tool boxes
- Resource Center on Domestic Violence: Child Protection and Custody (RCDV: CPC) – provides technical assistance, training, specialized resources, and policy development to a multi-disciplinary audience on child protection and child custody issues in the context of domestic violence; funded by the U.S. Department of Health and Human Services
- National Center for Juvenile Justice – NCJFCJ's research division, based in Pittsburgh, Pa., is the country's only non-profit research organization dedicated to the juvenile justice system
- National Judicial Institute on Domestic Violence (NJIDV) – a partnership between the NCJFCJ, Futures Without Violence, and the Department of Justice, Office on Violence Against Women (OVW), provides highly interactive, skills-based domestic violence workshops for judges and judicial officers nationwide. The NJIDV has developed a continuum of judicial education that currently includes the Enhancing Judicial Skills in Domestic Violence Cases Workshop, Continuing Judicial Skills in Domestic Violence Cases Program, Faculty Development, and Technical Assistance for state and regional adaptation and replication of NJIDV programs.
- Enhancing Judicial Skills in Elder Abuse Cases – provides education to judges on abuse in later life
- Family Court Enhancement Project (FCEP) – working to improve custody decision-making in the context of domestic violence. Funded by OVW, NCJFCJ works with national domestic violence and court experts to provide training and technical assistance (including policy- and tool-development, strategic planning, and peer-to-peer learning) in four diverse sites toward the FCEP goals.
- National School-Justice Partnership and Resource Center – a national initiative funded by Office of Juvenile Justice and Delinquency Prevention (OJJDP) to help “keep kids in school and out of court”.
- Numerous judicial institutes aimed at judges working in juvenile (dependency and delinquency) courts – such as the DomesticChild Sex Trafficking Institute, the Child Abuse and Neglect Institute (CANI), the Tribal Judicial Leadership CANI, Multi-disciplinary CANI, and the New Judges Institute.
During the past eight decades, the NCJFCJ has grown and evolved to meet the changing needs of our society. However, the organization’s mission has remained unchanged: to continuously improve the family court system and court practices and to raise awareness of the core issues that touch the lives of our nation's children and families.
A non-profit, 501(c)(3) corporation, the NCJFCJ relies on funding from federal and state grants, private foundations, and generous members and donors.