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Web Resources: Capacity and Role of Children and Youth Participating in the Dependency Court Decision-Making Process

Julianna L. Ormsby, MSW, Permanency Planning for Children Department, NCJFCJ

Summary:  The following resources, though not intended to be exhaustive, provide information and guidance for judges and court/child welfare systems stakeholders on the topics of open courts and children participating in court proceedings.


American Bar Association Center on Children and the Law:

Casey Family Programs ( offers free publications on topics related to older youth including a section on "Transition to Adulthood" and easy to use tools to help young people prepare for adulthood.

Foster Club (  is the national network for young people in foster care. Their Transition Toolkit is designed to help youth along with their adult supporters take inventory of their current assets, identify their resources and map out a plan. They also provide a tool called Permanency Pact which guides youth in assembling positive, kin-like relationships with supportive adults.

Foster Care Alumni of America:

Fostering Connections Resource Center ( is a gathering place of information, training and tools related to furthering the implementation of the Fostering Connections law.

National Children’s Advocacy Center: offers resources including a "Home Court Advantage" DVD to help prepare children to testify in court.

National CASA:

National Council of Juvenile and Family Court Judges ( offers materials including resource library and educational opportunities.

National Resource Center for Youth Development ( works with states and tribes to implement all of the requirements of the Foster Care Independence Act of 1999. The site includes information on youth engagement, permanency and transition planning.

ZERO TO THREE ( is a national, nonprofit organization that informs, trains, and supports professionals, policymakers, and parents in their efforts to improve the lives of infants and toddlers.

Policy Statements/Resolutions

National Association of Counsel for Children: Policy Statement on the Confidentiality of Juvenile Court Proceedings and Records, Adopted by NACC Board of Directors, April 25, 1998, (60 KB PDF)

National Council of Juvenile and Family Court Judges: Policy Statement on Children in Court, Adopted by the NCJFCJ Board of Trustees, January 20, 2012, (87 KB PDF)


Katz, L; Lederman, C.; Osofsky, J., “Child-Centered Practices for the Courtroom and Community: A Guide to Working Effectively with Young Children and Their Families in the Child Welfare System” Paul H. Brookes Publishing Co., November 2010. (Available for purchase through Amazon.)

National Council of Juvenile and Family Court Judges. (2011). Right from the Start: The CCC Preliminary Protective Hearing Benchcard–A Tool for Judicial Decision-Making. (1.3 MB PDF)Reno, NV: Author. Download the four-page benchcard. (78 KB PDF)

National Council of Juvenile and Family Court Judges (1995). Resource Guidelines: Improving Court Practice in Child Abuse and Neglect Cases. (800 KB PDF) Reno, NV: Author.

National Council of Juvenile and Family Court Judges (2000). Adoption and Permanency Guidelines: Improving Court Practice in Child Abuse and Neglect Cases. (711 KB PDF) Reno, NV: Author.

National Council of Juvenile and Family Court Judges and the American Bar Association (2012). Seen, Heard and Engaged: Children in Dependency Court Hearings (194 KB PDF)

Osofsky, J., Maze, C., Lederman, C., Grace, M., & Dicker, S. (2002). Questions Every Judge and Lawyer Should Ask About Infants and Toddlers in the Child Welfare System. Reno, NV: National Council of Juvenile and Family Court Judges.

Judicial Guide for Implementing the Fostering Connections to Success and Increasing Adoptions Act of 2008: This document presents a brief overview of each section of Fostering Connections, outlines some general judicial considerations for implementation and provides questions to be asked from the bench to help ensure compliance with the law and best practice:


Khoury, A. (2007)  With me, not without me: How to involve children in court. Child Law Practice, 26 (9), Retrieved May 15, 2012 from

Therolf, G., & Hoeffel, J. (2012, February 7). Media gain access to L.A. County children’s courts. Los Angeles Times, Retrieved May 15, 2012, from

Therolf, G. (2012, February 1). L.A. judge orders Juvenile Court opened to press. Los Angeles Times, Retrieved May 15, 2012, from

General Resources

Resources for Judges- Young Children in Court: (1.5 MB PDF)

Through the Eyes of the Child Initiative, Children in Court Study (Nebraska):

Tools for Engaging Children in Their Court Proceedings- A Guide for Judges, Advocates and Child Welfare Professionals: (6.5 MB PDF)


The US Department of Justice has supported CASA advocacy since 1985 through its Office of Juvenile Justice and Delinquency Prevention.
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