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Redefining Judicial Leadership: Stories of Transformative Practice

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Redefining Judicial Leadership: Stories of Transformative Practice

Through the Office of Juvenile Justice and Delinquency Prevention (OJJDP) funding, the Implementation Sites Project was developed to replicate the infrastructure pioneered by the National Council of Juvenile and Court Judges (NCJFCJ) Model Courts Project. Designated sites have committed to develop and implement a judicially-led collaborative seeking to implement system reform efforts to improve the child abuse and neglect case process with the goal of improving safety, permanency, and well-being outcomes for children. These sites strive to adhere to, and implement, all aspects of the best practices outlined in the Enhanced Resource Guidelines: Improving Court Practice in Child Abuse and Neglect Cases while adopting the Key Principles of Permanency Planning for Children. 

Each designated site leads local systems’ reform through the selection of short-term improvement goals based on the Enhanced Resource Guidelines practices, measures implementation of its goals, partners with statewide court improvement efforts, and informs national dependency court system improvement. 

Judicial leadership has been a cornerstone of each Implementation Site team’s system reform efforts. Judges are uniquely positioned to facilitate systems’ reform in dependency court systems’ – they are uniquely positioned to convene stakeholders and promote alternatives to doing business as usual. Judges are essential catalysts for improving their courts’ and systems’ responses to child abuse and neglect. 

The NCJFCJ is pleased to feature both past and present lead judges who have made a personal commitment to lend energy, vision, and time to the task of improving court practice. The featured judges in this publication have mobilized and empowered others while demonstrating extraordinary commitment to meeting the needs of children and families in their local communities by creating a courtroom environment of respect and humility.