Skip to main content
Skip to main content

Reasonable Efforts: A Judicial Perspective

Resources / Bench Card / Reasonable Efforts: A Judicial Perspective

Reasonable Efforts: A Judicial Perspective, written by NCJFCJ Past President Judge Leonard Edwards (Ret.), is a publication made possible by the generous support of Casey Family Programs and Philanthropic Ventures Foundation.

From the Foreword by the NCJFCJ Past President Michael Nash, Presiding Judge of the Los Angeles Juvenile Court:

“… Two goals of this book are to encourage judges and attorneys to be more assertive in their oversight of social service agencies and to examine the ‘reasonable efforts’ issue earlier in the case. …

“As juvenile court judges, we must find that reasonable efforts have been made to prevent the removal of children from their families, that reasonable efforts have been made to give families a meaningful opportunity to reunify after the children have been removed, and that reasonable efforts have been made to secure permanency for children. These findings must be made within the context of every case, taking into consideration the individual strengths and needs of every family and its members. The issues are varied and often complex. …

“For decades, Judge Edwards has been the conscience and the voice for juvenile court judges nationwide. He has helped define and shape our role more than any other juvenile court judge ever. Once again he has raised his voice to emphasize the importance of this part of our role in more depth than has ever been done before. State by state Judge Edwards reviews the statutory scheme on reasonable efforts, the existing case law on the subject and offers commentary from judges and other child welfare system stakeholders. …”

This groundbreaking book covers topics:

  • Legislative History
  • Federal Law and Child Welfare
  • What is the Definition of Reasonable Efforts?
  • Aggravated Circumstances: When are Reasonable Efforts Unnecessary?
  • The Indian Child Welfare Act and Active Efforts
  • State Responses to the Reasonable Efforts Issue
  • Recurring Factual Situations in the Trial Courts
  • Challenges to Effective Use of the Reasonable Efforts Findings—Attorneys Representing Parents and Children
  • Challenges to Effective Use of the Reasonable Efforts Findings—Judges
  • Recommended Judicial Strategies
  • State-by-state analysis of statutes, case law, and commentary, forms, documents, benchcards, and more