Juvenile and Family Court Journal

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  • A 21st Century Developmentally Appropriate Juvenile Probation Approach

    Principles of adolescent development have accelerated positive changes to the juvenile justice system. These changes have been most pronounced in reducing reliance on incarceration and in approaches to sentencing of youth tried as adults. While juvenile probation has made some developmentally friendly adjustments, it remains an area that is fertile for reform. Many of the principles and goals in this paper have been endorsed by the National Council of Juvenile and Family Court Judges (NCJFCJ), which “supports and is committed to juvenile probation systems that conform to the latest knowledge of adolescent development and adolescent brain science,” and which “recommends that courts cease imposing ‘conditions of probation’ and instead support probation departments’ developing, with families and youth, individualized case plans that set expectations and goals.” NCJFCJ's July, 2017 resolution in support of developmentally appropriate juvenile probation services built on earlier NCJFCJ policies. From the time NCJFCJ adopted Juvenile Delinquency Guidelines in 2005, those policies have grown increasingly robust.

  • Resolution Addressing The Needs Of Homeless Youth And Families In Juvenile And Family Courts
  • Preventing Homelessness for System‐Involved Youth

    Too many youth and young adults find themselves on the streets, couch‐surfing with friends, in emergency shelters or worse, after exiting the child welfare and juvenile justice systems. In some circumstances, youth have had court hearings until their exit from the legal system, but those hearings have not focused on long‐range plans of youth and emergencies youth may encounter. In other circumstances, there has been little or no planning prior to discharge, especially for young people who leave the juvenile justice system. Courts can and should prevent, alleviate or end youth homelessness for youth who appear before them through strategies that are enumerated in the recently‐passed NCJFCJ resolution. This article expounds on three of these strategies – coordinating transition and re‐entry plans, insisting on effective legal representation of youth, and utilizing sound judicial leadership. It also describes the concurrent efforts of the Coalition for Juvenile Justice and the American Bar Association's Homeless Youth Legal Network to remove legal barriers and improve outcomes for youth and young adults experiencing homelessness.

  • What the Trial Judge Needs to Know about the Convention of 23 November 2007 on the International Recovery of Child Support and Other Forms of Family Maintenance

    Since the 1950s, there have been several international multi‐lateral treaties for recognition and enforcement of child and spousal support orders. They operated, primarily, in civil law countries where “creditor‐based jurisdiction” allowed establishment of an order in the country of habitual residence of the child or the custodial parent. The United States, requiring “minimum contacts” with the debtor to establish personal jurisdiction, could not be a party to such agreements. For nearly fifty years the U.S., and a few states, sought to fill the need for international reciprocity by negotiating individual country‐to‐country or state‐to‐country arrangements. With ratification of the 2007 Family Maintenance Convention, the United States was finally able to join in a multi‐lateral treaty. The treaty took effect in the United States on January 1, 2017, establishing procedures for international recognition, enforcement and modification of family support orders with 35 other countries already party to the Convention (including the entire European Union). The grand bargain struck during the negotiations between 2003 and 2007 was that the U.S. would honor a foreign order if, under the facts presented, there were sufficient minimum contacts with the debtor that would have supported personal jurisdiction if the order had been entered in any state in the U.S. If unable to recognize a foreign order, the U.S. agreed to take steps to issue a new one. The treaty establishes administrative procedures that, in many respects, are nearly identical to interstate enforcement of domestic support orders in this country. But there are also aspects of the treaty that are entirely new and warrant explanation for family and juvenile court judges. This article focuses on several unique provisions of the treaty that judges and attorneys need to understand.

  • Resolution Regarding Juvenile Probation And Adolescent Development
  • Caught in the Act: States Doing Some Things Right in Juvenile Justice

    Bashing of juvenile justice systems in the United States is commonplace. We wondered if this is justified. As a product of our everyday practice and academic assessment, this article draws attention to salutary developments on several fronts, including reduced confinement, systematic assessment of child risks and needs, including use of structured decision‐making tools, evidence based services, and construction of comprehensive service plans. Our goal is to draw attention to best practices such as these that can lead to further advancements in juvenile justice systems.

  • Polygamy In Family Court: A Resource For Judges Dealing With An Unfamiliar Family Structure

    Cases concerning polygamous households can present difficult challenges for family courts. Though a growing number of Americans practice polygamy, the lifestyle still remains shrouded in mystery. Many polygamists are religious (and sometimes racial) minorities that have suffered from discrimination. The most influential judicial precedents concerning polygamy come from the nineteenth century and are tinged with religious and racial stereotypes, which can make judges uncomfortable with citing those decisions. There is a need for reliable, unprejudiced, and up‐to‐date information about polygamy that judges can cite while maintaining an image of objectivity and impartiality. This Article seeks to provide that resource. It provides information about the evolutionary influences that shape polygamy, how polygamy is practiced in the modern world, and common problems affecting polygamous households that judges should be aware of.

  • National Council of Juvenile and Family Court Judges Passes a Set of Practice Reform Resolutions

    The National Council of Juvenile and Family Court Judges (NCJFCJ) recently passed resolutions and policy statements on how to improve the lives of youth and families involved with juvenile or family courts. These resolutions address the needs of homeless youth and their families, juvenile probation and adolescent development, and the need for independent oversight of youth confinement facilities.

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