Posts tagged ‘family court’

September 9, 2014

New Groundbreaking Book for Juvenile and Family Court Judges

Reasonable Efforts: A Judicial Perspective (2014, hardcover, 461 pages)book cover
by Judge Leonard Edwards, publication made possible by the generous support of the Casey Family Programs and Philanthropic Ventures Foundation.

From the Foreword by the Hon. Michael Nash, Presiding Judge of the Los Angeles Juvenile Court:

“… Two goals of this book are to encourage judges and attorneys to be more assertive in their oversight of social service agencies and to examine the ‘reasonable efforts’ issue earlier in the case. …

“As juvenile court judges, we must find that reasonable efforts have been made to prevent the removal of children from their families, that reasonable efforts have been made to give families a meaningful opportunity to reunify after the children have been removed, and that reasonable efforts have been made to secure permanency for children. These findings must be made within the context of every case, taking into consideration the individual strengths and needs of every family and its members. The issues are varied and often complex. …

“For decades, Judge Edwards has been the conscience and the voice for juvenile court judges nationwide. He has helped define and shape our role more than any other juvenile court judge ever. Once again he has raised his voice to emphasize the importance of this part of our role in more depth than has ever been done before. State by state Judge Edwards reviews the statutory scheme on reasonable efforts, the existing case law on the subject and offers commentary from judges and other child welfare system stakeholders. …”

Contents include:

  1. Legislative History
  2. Federal Law and Child Welfare
  3. What is the Definition of Reasonable Efforts
  4. Aggravated Circumstances: When are Reasonable Efforts Unnecessary?
  5. The Indian Child Welfare Act and Active Efforts
  6. State Responses to the Reasonable Efforts Issue
  7. Recurring Factual Situations in the Trial Courts
  8. Challenges to Effective Use of the Reasonable Efforts Findings—Attorneys Representing Parents and Children
  9. Challenges to Effective Use of the Reasonable Efforts Findings—Judges
  10. Recommended Judicial Strategies
  11. Conclusion

Appendices—State-by-state analysis of statutes, case law, and commentary, forms, documents, benchcards, and more

For eBook version, download:
.mobi file—can be opened in Kindle, including Kindle reader for PC. .epub file—can be opened in various eBook readers, including iBooks on iPad, and Adobe Digital Editions reader for PC. .pdf file—can be opened in Adobe Acrobat Reader and similar readers.

Juvenile and family court judges and attorneys may request a hardcopy of the book by writing to:

The National Council of Juvenile and Family Court Judges
Attention: Cheryl Davidek
P.O. Box 8970
Reno, NV 89507

There is no charge for the book, but there will be a small charge for shipping and handling.

June 3, 2013

Judge Edwards speaks to the Family Court Bar in Tokyo, Japan: May 20, 2013

September 15, 2012

BOOK for Juvenile and Family Court Judges

by Judge Leonard Edwards, Retired
Available from
See a brief video interview on this topic. Also reviewed by Hon. Janice M. Rosa (ret.).]

BOOK REVIEW by Judge Margaret Henry

Juvenile Court is different and so are the ethics that apply to the judges who sit in Juvenile Court. I recall at an ethics training by CJER early in my Juvenile Court judicial career the instructor saying, “A judge may not accept a gift from any party, ever. No exceptions.” My hand shot up. She looked at me and repeated: “No exceptions.” I said: “What about a picture from an 8 year old autistic boy who is a dependent appearing in front of me?” She stared at me for a few seconds, and then said, “OK. There is an exception.”

There was nothing in writing at that time—more particularly, nothing in Judge David M. Rothman’s California Judicial Conduct Handbook that supported the position of an exception. Judge Rothman’s book is, of course, the gold standard of judicial ethics books. As comprehensive as it is, it does not detail the distinctions in the role of the Juvenile Court judge.

Judge Edwards’ new book explains the unique role of the Juvenile Court judge in the context of discussions of ethics. The book takes a very different approach, in structure and content, from California Judicial Conduct Handbook. Judge Edwards’ book uses hypothetical scenarios that Juvenile Court judges may encounter in their work on the bench, identifies practice and ethical issues, and proposes approaches, offering advice and solutions to the judicial officer. The focus is on practical, ethical issues that the Juvenile Court judicial officer encounters.

The book is well indexed and organized. It is divided into three parts: Running the Juvenile Court, Ex Parte Communications, and Working Off the Bench. Each has approximately 30 sections with several scenarios. The Table of Contents can be used to find an exact discussion of an issue facing a Juvenile Court judge.

The author of this book explains the unique role of the Juvenile Court judge and that judges must not shy away from the responsibilities that come with the role. The Introduction to the book should be mandatory reading for all new judges to the Juvenile Court. Experienced juvenile judges will read the Introduction and think, “Exactly. That explains the difference in our role.”

This is a book for specialists—Juvenile Court judges. It should be kept in easy reach of each of us in chambers, right next to the California Judicial Conduct Handbook.

August 25, 2012

Engaging the Family

The Urgency of Placing Children with Relatives
The Guardian, a publication of the National Association of Counsel for Children (NACC), Vol 42 No 04 Winter 2020

Relative Placement: The Best Answer for Our Foster Care System
Juvenile and Family Court Journal , Vol 69 No 3
2018 National Council of Juvenile and Family Court Judges

Video: Reluctant Mother: a courtroom dramatization

Relative Placement: The Best Answer for Our Foster Care System
Winter 2018, The Bench, the official magazine of the California Judges Association

How To Improve Outcomes For Abused And Neglected Children: Engaging Relatives Early
Summer 2016, The Bench, the official magazine of the California Judges Association

Placing Children with Relatives
Autumn 2011, The Bench, the official magazine of the California Judges Association

Relative Placement in Child Protective Cases: A Judicial Perspective
Spring 2010, Juvenile and Family Court Journal

Engaging Fathers in the Child Protection Process: The Judicial Role
Spring 2009, Juvenile and Family Court Journal

Juvenile Court Corner: Engaging Fathers in the Child Custody Process
Winter 2009, The Bench, the official magazine of the California Judges Association

Family Finding From a Judicial Perspective
October 2008, The Judges’ Page Newsletter, The National CASA Association

The Transition to Group Decision Making in Child Protection Cases: Obtaining Better Results for Children and Families
Winter 2007, Juvenile and Family Court Journal

Finding Foster Kids’ Families Must Become Our Mandate
April 14, 2005, The San Jose Mercury News

Attachment, Bonding, and Reciprocal Connectedness: Limitation of the Attachment Theory in the Juvenile and Family Court
2000, Journal of the Center for Families, Children & the Courts (CFCC)

August 25, 2012

Family Court

Why Should Indian Children be Treated Differently?
The NACC Guardian, Vol 38 · No 06 (August 2016), a publication of the National Association of Counsel for Children.

Attacks on implementation of the Indian Child Welfare Act (ICWA) have recently been in the headlines. Several critics of the ICWA have stated that Indian Children should not be treated differently in child welfare and adoption proceedings.

Despite these attacks, there are compelling reasons why the ICWA should be fully implemented. This article outlines some of the reasons for full implementation and argues that there are important reasons why Native American children should receive special treatment in the courts.

Comments on the Miller Commission Report: A California Perspective
Summer 2007, vol 27, no 4, Pace Law Review, 101

The Relationship of Family and Juvenile Courts in Child Abuse Cases
Spring 1987, Santa Clara Law Review—Volume 27

July 15, 2012

Videos – Programs That Work

Wraparound Services

Wraparound services are a new and important approach to working with children who have mental health difficulties.  These services have spread quickly throughout the country.  This film explains what wraparound services are and how they work with children and families.  EMQ Families First of Campbell, California, has spearheaded the development and growth of wraparound services.  The staff at EMQ Families First is featured on the video.

Mentor Parent Program

The Mentor Parent Program of Santa Clara County hires graduates from the local Family Drug Treatment Court as mentors to parents entering the treatment court.  It is an expansion of the Mentor Mom program started in Santa Clara County over 10 years ago.  Through the voices of mentor parents, this video explains why the program has been so successful.

Dependency Mediation

Dependency mediation is one of the best practices that many juvenile dependency courts have used over the past 20 years.  Santa Clara County, California, Jefferson County, Kentucky, and San Francisco County, California, are featured in the video along with national experts on mediation.

March 1, 2011

Judge Leonard Edwards – Video Clips

Achieving Permanency: This video explains the importance of timely permanency for children caught up in the child welfare system.  Judge Edwards explains the many reasons why timely permanency is critical for foster youth.  The article entitled “Achieving Timely Permanency in Child Protection Cases: The Importance of Frontloading the Court Process,” is a useful companion piece to this video.

Santa Clara County Mentor Parent Program: This video concerns the Family Wellness Court, now operating in Santa Clara County, California.  This is a unique Family Drug Treatment Court that deals with substance abusing parents (mostly mothers) whose children are between the ages of 0 and 5.  Judge Erica Yew explains how this court focuses on the special needs that young mothers and infants have and the special services that this court provides.

Legal Innovations: This video describes the Santa Clara County Family Drug Treatment Court.  Started in the 1990’s, it was one of the first in the nation.  This video has been distributed all over the world and was the inspiration for the creation of the first such court in London, England.