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The Role of the Courts in Improving the Lives of Children and Families

California Blue Ribbon Commission on Children in Foster Care

California has overburdened its courts and the child welfare workers who oversee the state’s 80,000 foster youth, this commission finds. Judges are constantly shuffled out of the system, youth hearings in court last only 10 to 15 minutes, and lawyers shoulder caseloads averaging almost 300 cases. Appointed by a state judge in 2006 to solve such problems, the commission includes judges, attorneys, legislators, child welfare directors, academicians, philanthropists, foster youth, caregivers and child advocates.

It recommends 30- to 60-minute hearings, a better flow of information between courts and families, increased transitional help for children aging out of the foster care, lighter caseloads for judges and attorneys, and the appointment of local commissions to implement such measures. Free, 20 pages. (916) 565-3882, http://www.courtinfo.ca.gov/jc/tflists/bluerib-rec.htm.

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