Hawaii CCC Case File Review and Court Observation Pre and Post Benchcard

November 11, 2016

In 2007, the National Council of Juvenile and Family Court Judges, in partnership with Casey Family Programs, and the Office of Juvenile Justice and Delinquency Prevention began the Courts Catalyzing Change: Achieving Equity and Fairness in Foster Care Initiative (CCC), in an effort improve outcomes for children of color in the foster care system. One key element of this effort was a judicial benchard  for judges to use at the initial hearing on dependency cases. In efforts to improve practice, judicial officers in Hawaii began using the benchcard in practice in 2009. The integration of the CCC Benchcard into practice was assessed by the NCJFCJ, to examine how the Benchcard changed behavior in court hearings as well as to determine how this change in practice may be related to changes in case outcomes for families. The evaluation included court observation and case file review of cases prior to and after Benchcard implementation. Results indicate positive changes in practice, such as increased parental engagement and increases in hearing discussion. Outcomes were also positive, indicating an increased rate of reunification and shorter time to permanency. More information can be found in the research report.