Every day, judges and attorneys struggle with questions such as: How do I know whether a child's severe injury represents a pattern of dangerous family conditions or is a one-time incident? What criteria should I use to determine if a child is safe? How do I decide whether to return a child Home? What information do I need from the agency to make these decisions?
Child Safety: A Guide for Judges and Attorneys offers a comprehensive approach to child safety decision making. It addresses the fundamentals of safety assessments and safety planning. It is targeted toward judges and others in the legal community but is relevant for agency staff too.
When agency staff expect judges to ask probing, detailed questions, workers and attorneys will come to court prepared, and will make more thoughtful case decisions.
Safety decisions must be made throughout the life of the case. Often after the initial removal, attorneys, caseworkers and judges lose sight of original safety concerns. Parents, children, judges and attorneys are often unclear as to what needs to be accomplished for the child to be returned home.
This Guide lays out clear standards or "conditions for return" that must be met before a child can be returned and provides checklists to assist judges in making reunification decisions. Finally, the guide provides assistance to judges on what to consider prior to terminating jurisdiction.
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