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Children’s Justice Initiative
Working with Minnesota Judicial Branch to improve child protection processThe Children's Justice Initiative (CJI) is collaboration between the Minnesota Department of Human Services and Minnesota Judicial Branch. The purpose of the initiative is for these two state entities to work closely with the local juvenile courts, social services agencies, county attorneys, public defenders, court administrators, guardians ad litem, tribes, and other key stakeholders in each of Minnesota's 87 counties to improve the processing of child protection cases and the outcomes for abused and neglected children. The overall objective is to find safe, stable, permanent homes for abused and neglected children, first through reunification with the child's parents if that is safe or, if not, through another permanent placement option. When identifying and implementing improvements, the project's goal is for all stakeholders to operate "through the eyes of the child" so as to achieve child safety, permanency, and well-being.
Alcohol and Other Drugs Project addresses important dimension of child protectionAs part of CJI, interdisciplinary teams representing child welfare, chemical health and the court system are now working in communities throughout the state to enhance the capacities of these systems to address problems, further develop cross-systems partnerships and improve practices to help families affected by alcohol and other drug problems. The work is an outgrowth of the Alcohol and Other Drugs Project, launched in early 2005 to streamline functions to better serve children. The goal is to ensure abused and neglected children involved in the juvenile protection court system have safe, stable, permanent families by improving parental and family recovery from alcohol and other drug problems.
Tool Kit helps equip front-line practitionersRecognizing that alcohol and other drug problems are a significant impediment to the realization of successful outcomes for families involved in child protection cases, a Tool Kit identifies 20 strategies that have been shown to help front-line practitioners as well as the managers and supervisors who set policy in the child welfare, chemical health and juvenile protection court systems.
The electronic Tool Kit will helps ensure that, in a fair and timely manner, abused and neglected children involved in the child protection system have safe, stable, permanent families by improving parental and family recovery from alcohol or other drug problems.
Tool Kit: Catch the Vision, available on both the DHS and the Minnesota Judicial Branch Web sites, was developed by the Children’s Justice Initiative – Alcohol and Other Drug (CJI-AOD) workgroup, with technical assistance from the National Center for Substance Abuse and Child Welfare. The Tool Kit identifies collaborative best practices that facilitate cross-system communication and planning on behalf of the entire family, utilizing a strength-based, family-centered approach.
High quality judicial process reviewedChild protection system stakeholders who want to enhance their understanding of the law are urged to consult a new publication the Minnesota Judges Juvenile Protection Benchbook. Published by the Children’s Justice Initiative and now available on the Minnesota Judicial Branch Web site, the Benchbook specifies the necessary elements of a fair, thorough and timely court process. For each type of hearing (Emergency Protective Care, Admit/Deny, Adjudication, Disposition, Disposition Review, Permanent Placement Determination, etc.), the Benchbook identifies the specific findings, conclusions, and orders required at each stage of the proceeding. The Benchbook will be updated regularly to reflect revisions to federal and state statutes, rules and case law.
Related linksMinnesota Judicial Branch, Children’s Justice Initiative
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