Assessing the Relationship between Efficiency and Effectiveness in Juvenile Dependency Cases

November 15, 2011

Prior NCJFCJ research suggests that lower judicial workloads are related to timely permanency in juvenile dependency cases. This important finding could be expanded upon by exploring measures of effectiveness and efficiency. This Research Memo seeks to answer two questions: (1) Do judicial workloads predict reunification? (2) Are timely outcomes related to safe and permanent outcomes?

The analysis revealed that judicial workloads play an important role on influencing re-entry into care within 12 months of permanency. Lower judicial workloads are related to more reunifications within 12 months. In turn, increases in reunification within 12 months are related to decreases in reentry within 12 months of permanency.