Children and youth often have little or no power over important aspects of their lives that are impacted by court involvement. Judges and other court professionals need to engage authentically, meaningfully, and directly with children and youth to determine what they want and which options will work best for them and their families. Children and youth who are involved in child welfare proceedings are not always able to communicate fully what they need. As a result, engagement strategies need to be tailored to each individual’s age and level of development. This report, authored by NCJFJC in partnership with the Quality Improvement Center on Engaging Youth in Permanency, has outlined four ways that judges and other court professionals can engage children and youth of all ages authentically and can ensure their involvement in all decisions being made about their lives.
- Use court hearings as opportunities to build a relationship with children and youth.
- Create a child-and-youth-friendly court environment.
- Create opportunities to engage children and youth between court hearings.
- Partner with people who have lived expertise to create a court process and an environment that promote success.