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   Court Coordination Program Tests New Concept

May/June 2005
In This Issue
Missing Children's Day
Faith-Based Initiatives
Court Coordination Program
EUDL Conference
New Publications
Funding Update
Coordinating Council
Advisory Committee

OJJDP Staff News


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 judges—not 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.

Pilot Sites

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 following:

  • 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 bring—examples that can serve as models for other localities.

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.

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