Court Improvement Program (CIP)
The following activities have been conducted through this Grant:
- New Judge Orientation
Training has been provided to new juvenile and family court judges.
- Juvenile Dependency Caseflow Management Workshops
Five Juvenile Dependency Caseflow Workshops have been conducted for 32 counties.
Each county has a team generally consisting of a juvenile court judge, the person
who primarily dockets juvenile dependency cases, a Department of Human Resources
(DHR) director and his or her designee, and a DHR attorney. The general outcome
to be achieved with these workshops is to have better caseflow management practices
in the counties receiving training.
Two Juvenile Dependency Caseflow Reunion Workshops have been conducted for 17 counties
with another Workshop planned for the remaining 13 counties. The purpose of these
Workshops is to bring the county teams back together to hear the progress made in
caseflow management in their counties.
Basic Court Improvement Program (CIP)
The Basic CIP grant is a federally-funded program that has been administered in
the AOC since 1995. The goal of the grant is to streamline juvenile court procedures
and processes so that children adjudicated dependent may be placed in safe, permanent
homes as quickly as possible. The primary activities of the Grant include the following:
- Termination of Parental Rights (TPR) Initiatives
Two court rules were amended to expedite termination of parental rights cases. One
rule was amended to provide that a TPR order must be issued within 30 days after
a trial. The other rule was amended to provide that TPR trials must be given priority
over all other nonjury trials.
- Probate/Juvenile Judge Subcommittee
This Subcommittee was formed to bring juvenile court judges and probate court judges
and other stakeholders together to discuss issues that may arise in processing adoption
cases. The major issues discussed were information sharing and better communications
between the two courts.
- Guardian ad Litem (GAL) Certification and Recertification Training
Since 2004, the staff of the AOC has conducted GAL certification and recertification
training in order to fulfill a federal law requirement that all guardians ad litem
must be trained as to their role.
In order for the attorneys who are placed on the GAL appointment list to remain
certified, the attorneys are required to obtain an additional 2 hours of Continuing
Legal Education (CLE) credit covering updates of juvenile dependency and/or TPR
law and/or topics which will assist them in their GAL practice.
- Activities with State Department of Human Resources (DHR)
The AOC staff works with staff of the State DHR regarding quality assurance issues,
the Child and Family Services Review (CFSR), and the Title IV-E eligibility review.
- Assessment of the Alabama Juvenile and Family Courts
The AOC staff is continuing to conduct an assessment of juvenile and family courts’
handling of dependency and TPR cases by means of reviewing a random sample of court
files, surveying stakeholders, and, in some counties, observing court hearings.
- 3 Model Juvenile Courts (Mobile, Tuscaloosa, and Lauderdale Counties)
Mobile, Tuscaloosa, and Lauderdale Counties were selected to be part of the dependency
model court project. Coordinators in each of the counties assist the courts in docketing
dependency and TPR cases; ensuring that notice to parties of hearings is given;
making sure continuances in these cases are at a minimum; keeping statistics on
timeliness of hearings; and collecting other information.
CIP Data Collection Grant
In September 2006, the AOC, through the Family Court Division, received a grant
from the federal government primarily to be utilized for for data collection and
analysis, to help ensure that foster children's needs for safety, permanency and
well-being are met in a timely and complete manner.
- Update and revision of current data collection methods
Update of current SJIS mainframe and revision of charge codes, court action, disposition
codes and petition statements.
- Developing cross system collaboration between existing state systems
An automated interface between DHR and AOC for an easy exchange of information and
to encourage effective data sharing and effective collaboration
- Developing and implement enhancements to the Juvenile MIS
Development of “JUPITIR” intake management system
- Develop an “alert” system to ensure that timelines for dependency cases are
compliant with federal and state statutes.
The alert system, which automatically notifies court officials of upcoming time
Standards, is in place in 4 counties as of 01/01/08