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NCJRS Abstract

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NCJ Number: 186131 Find in a Library
Title: On Designing a Court for Children
Journal: Court Manager  Volume:14  Issue:1  Dated:1999  Pages:28-33
Author(s): Charlene Saunders; Randall Henderson
Editor(s): K. Kent Batty
Date Published: 1999
Page Count: 6
Type: Report (Technical)
Format: Article
Language: English
Country: United States of America
Annotation: In July 1992, Los Angeles County opened the Edmund D. Edelman Children's Court, the first courthouse in the United States exclusively dedicated to hearing child abuse causes; unique in both design and specialized programs, the facility was also the first courthouse to be built from a child's perspective.
Abstract: Construction of the courthouse was the culmination of a 15-year effort by Los Angeles County and the Los Angeles Superior Court to provide an appropriate facility where child abuse cases could be heard. For many years, these cases had been heard in the overcrowded Criminal Courts Building in downtown Los Angeles and in trailer units in the San Fernando Valley. The courthouse was designed as a state-of-the-art example of child-sensitive building design. Its 25 courtrooms are scaled to half the size of traditional courtrooms, while an outdoor playground features a life-sized chessboard where children play beside king, queen, and pawn. Cut-out palm trees and cloud-shaped light fixtures in the lobby help to blur the boundaries between indoors and outdoors. An awareness of the needs of children is evident throughout the courthouse. The courthouse is located on a hill in Monterey Park, about 5 miles east of downtown Los Angeles. The basic L-shape of the building is meant to evoke open arms and to avoid the long corridors common to government structures. Criteria that guided the design of the courthouse to be sensitive to child and family needs are noted, as well as environmental and programming considerations. Special programs available to children and families are briefly described that focus on mental health, child advocacy, children's rights, and mediation. Prominent design features of the courthouse are listed. 4 photographs
Main Term(s): Court management
Index Term(s): Architectural design; California; Child abuse; County courts; Courtrooms; Juvenile courts
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