OJJDP's new Court Coordination Program is an innovative approach
to helping juvenile and family courts provide more coordinated, individualized
services to youth with multiple needs. OJJDP Administrator J. Robert
Flores initiated the court coordination concept based on discussions
with judges and court administrators. Beginning in 2005, the program
will be pilot tested in eight communities. Pilot project participants
attended a 2-day orientation session in Washington, DC, during April.
The pilot project is exploring whether a coordinator in the court
structure can leverage the court's authority to improve service
delivery and outcomes for juveniles in cases that require intensive,
specialized care from more than one agency. The coordinator will
seek to coordinate services from service providers such as community
mental health, social services, education, and health agencies.
One purpose of the pilot project is to assess the court coordination
approach as an alternative to increasing specialization in juvenile
and family court mandates. The project is designed to develop an
additional option for judgesnot a one-size-fits-all solution.
OJJDP recognizes that every jurisdiction is different and seeks to
accommodate those differences through a flexible approach. Pilot
sites will work with OJJDP in designing guidelines to help other
jurisdictions implement the court coordination approach.
The Court Coordination Program pilot project has two
tiers of sites. Tier 1 sites will receive OJJDP funding
to hire a coordinator and cover related expenses ($60,000
the first year; $40,000 the second year; and $20,000
the third year). Tier 2 sites will receive technical
assistance in developing their strategies and identifying
funding streams to pay for a coordinator.
Tier 1 Sites
Albany, NY: Family Court.
Miami-Dade, FL: 11th Circuit Juvenile Court.
Multnomah County, OR: 4th Circuit Court.
New Orleans, LA: Orleans Parish Juvenile Court.
Tier 2 Sites
Buffalo/Erie County, NY.
Cleveland/Cuyahoga County, OH.
Indianapolis/Marion County, IN.
San Jose/Santa Clara County, CA
Desired outcomes for the Court Coordination Program include the
- More efficient, effective delivery of services.
- Speedier resolution of cases.
- Reduced recidivism rates.
The project will also explore the potential of the court coordination
concept for reducing disproportionate minority contact.
The sites chosen to participate in the Court Coordination Program
have strong leadership both in their courts and in their Weed and
Seed projects.* By choosing sites with these demonstrated strengths,
OJJDP hopes to provide solid examples of the benefits this kind of
collaboration can bringexamples that can serve as models for
The Court Coordination Program is also an opportunity for OJJDP
to model the cooperative approach it recommends to others. In addition
to working with the Weed and Seed sites and their U.S. Attorneys,
OJJDP is partnering with other federal agencies such as the U.S.
Department of Health and Human Services. This coordination of federal
resource streams is designed to improve local courts' access
to these resources on behalf of the children who come to the attention
of the courts. Pilot communities will be connected with other Department
of Justice (DOJ) activities, such as OJJDP's formula-funded
technical assistance. Courts involved in the program will receive
training and technical assistance designed to help them access and
coordinate needed services.
Administrator Flores views the April orientation session for the
Court Coordination Program as the beginning of partnerships on several
levels, both within sites and between sites. Part of the program's
objective is to help develop working relationships that will benefit
local partners for decades to come.
For additional information about OJJDP's Court Coordination
Program, visit www.dsgonline.com/ccp_index.asp.
*Administered by the Community Capacity Development Office within
the Office of Justice Programs, Weed and Seed is a community-based
coordination initiative to prevent and control crime and improve
the quality of life.