Background & Project History

Georgia's Committee on Justice for Children was created in 1995 by order of the Supreme Court of Georgia and funded by the federal Court Improvement Grant. The purpose of the grant is to improve the court process for civil child abuse and neglect cases.

 

Phase II
Implementation of Improvements

Plans for improvement are submitted every year to the Children’s Bureau. In response, federal funds are granted to the Committee on Justice for Children every year to work toward implementation of improvements according to Georgia's plan.The work of J4C is currently organized under the following main areas of effort:  implementing a systems approach to child welfare processes and outcomes; improving general child welfare education; improving legal representation of parties in child welfare cases; enhancing children’s right to be treated as a party in child welfare cases; improving placement stability and independent living services for fosterchildren; improving foster parents’ right to notice and to be heard in court; working toward better Title IV-E compliance (court order project); and enhancing Tribal outreach.

 

Phase I
The Assessment

The project's original most extensive assessment was conducted by the Administrative Office of the Courts with the assistance of the National Center for State Courts. It included a mail survey of all judges with juvenile jurisdiction, Special Assistant Attorney Generals, court clerks, and Division of Family and Children Services caseworkers. In addition, an in-depth study was done of ten counties selected to represent the diversity of the State of Georgia. The studies in these counties included both superior court and juvenile court judges. The information for the study was collected anonymously and was aggregated at the state level. The Supreme Court appointed an Advisory Committee to contribute to the assessment process and to make recommendations to the Supreme Court for improvements in the child deprivation process. The Advisory Committee consisted of representatives of the judiciary, child welfare agencies, and community members interested in improving the system for Georgia's abused and neglected children. The study was completed in the summer of 1996 and the final report was presented to the Supreme Court on October 9, 1996.  The Advisory Committee was reorganized as the Implementation Committee in 1997.