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2010 Model Courts All-Sites Conference: No Wrong Door

Melissa D. Bahmer, MS, Senior Program Manager, Model Courts, PPCD, NCJFCJ

Summary: The 2010 Model Court All-Sites Conference focuses on collaboration across courts that hear all aspects of family law—including dependency, delinquency and domestic violence issues—in order to improve coordination of services to families.


The National Council of Juvenile and Family Court Judges (NCJFCJ) Model Courts Project’s purpose is to improve court practice in child abuse and neglect cases as well as improve overall outcomes for children and families. The model courts utilize best practices outlined in the NCJFCJ publications, Resource Guidelines: Improving Court Practice in Child Abuse & Neglect Cases and the Adoption and Permanency Guidelines: Improving Court Practice in Child Abuse and Neglect Cases, to implement dependency court systems change and improve court practice across the nation.[1] Model courts work hard to improve the entire dependency system so that it better responds to, and meets the needs of, children and families through implementation of collaborative processes, evaluation of goal achievement, and incorporation of analysis and feedback. All model courts contribute to the evolving understanding of how to change the complex and interdependent court and child welfare systems. For more information on the requirements of becoming a Model Court, and the expectations of being in the Model Courts Project, please visit the  NCJFCJ website. 

Each year, NCJFCJ model courts attend the All-Sites Conference,[2] which brings together multi-disciplinary teams from each model court in the project. The conference provides an opportunity to assess progress and goal achievement; identify challenges; and discuss and strategize potential solutions and next steps for removing system-reform barriers. The agenda for the conference is carefully crafted to include networking opportunities among courts in the project as well as opportunities to learn more about cutting-edge practices.

The upcoming 2010 All-Sites Conference, entitled "No Wrong Door," focuses on collaboration across courts that hear all aspects of family law—including dependency, delinquency and domestic violence issues. Learning more about domestic violence cases enables the model courts to treat families holistically and catalyze coordinated case planning and service delivery to families often involved in multiple systems. Recognizing the importance of effective and sound domestic violence practices from the judiciary ensures that judges and key court personnel are aware of, and better serve, domestic violence victims and their children. In past years, the All-Sites Conference has included workshops on children exposed to domestic violence and the importance of making reasonable efforts in dependency cases when domestic violence is involved.

This year’s conference will feature a workshop on the impact of adolescent partner violence on youth who are involved in both the dependency and delinquency court systems. In addition, the closing plenary will feature Ruby White Starr, who will discuss the importance of issues related to children and youth, resilience, cultural competence, and domestic violence. 

The discussions that ensue from the annual All-Sites meeting of the model courts inform future NCJFCJ publications and initiatives that other judges, courts, and stakeholders can utilize in their everyday practice.

[1] The Model Court Effect: Proven Strategies in Systems’ Change (2009). National Council of Juvenile and Family Court Judges, Reno, Nevada.

[2] For more information regarding the upcoming 2010 All-Sites Conference please visit:


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