Court Improvement Initiative/Measures for Courts PDF Print E-mail


The Administrative Office of the Courts (AOC) administers the Georgia Court Improvement Initiative through the Committee on Justice for Children.  It is a part of a nationwide effort to improve how courts handle child abuse and neglect cases.  The project works with juvenile judges to bring together court staff. the Division of Family and Children Services, and other related agencies to improve court procedures and implement "best practices."  It offers training, referrals to other programs, and hands-on assistance.  There are fifteen focus sites across the state.



The Executive Committee of the Council of Juvenile Court Judges created the Court Improvement Initiative in 2004 to develop guidelines for best practices in deprivation cases with a grant from the Committee on Justice for Children.  In 2006, GCII was moved to be administered by the AOC.  Participating focus sites demonstrate leadership and experimentation through implementation of best practices and regular collaboration in their courts.  Sites meet semi-annually and focus on data measures relevant to child deprivation cases.  Below is a current listing of participating courts/sites.

Court Improvement Initiative - Participating Courts
  • DeKalb County /Judge Vincent Crawford, Committee Chair
  • Bartow County/Judge Velma Tilley
  • Chatham County/Judge Patricia Stone 
  • Clarke County/Judge Robin Shearer
  • Clayton County/Judge Dietra Burney-Butler 
  • Cobb County/Judge Juanita Stedman
  • Douglas County/Judge Peggy Walker
  • Fannin, Gilmer and Pickens Counties/Judge John Worcester-Holland
  • Fulton County/Judge Bradley Boyd
  • Glascock, Lincoln, McDuffie, Taliaferro, Warren and Wilkes Counties/Judge Britt Hammond
  • Hall County/Judge Cliff Jolliff
  • Houston County/Judge Deborah Edwards
  • Newton County/Judge Sheri Roberts
  • Paulding County/Judge Sandra Miller
  • Troup County/Judge R. Michael Key
  • Union, Towns, Lumpkin and White Counties/Judge Gerald Bruce
Measures for Courts
The Measures for Courts project will work in partnership with the GCII to establish outcome measures for deprived children within the system.  For child deprivation cases, state and federal law establishes three goals for children; that they shall: 1) be safe, 2) have permanency and 3) have their well-being needs met.  All systems need measurements to ensure the end goal or product is being accomplished.  The J4C staff and committee are consulting with state and federal leaders to establish the outcomes and the measures and monitors to be reported out publicly, thereby providing a means to ensure these crucial goals of safety, permanency and well-being are being met.
Vision for this project:
Knowledge creates context for better decision making and for the identification and use of best practices in courts.  All courts in Georgia will be aware of the GA CIP’s published child welfare outcome framework (measures from a child’s perspective), and all courts willing to collect specific court process measures regarding due process and timeliness will be able to do so.
Proposed Child Welfare Outcome Framework
  1. Safety
a. Outcome: Maltreatment does not occur.
Measure: Proportion of children reported maltreated.
b. Outcome: Maltreatment does not recur.
Measures: Proportion of children re-reported within 3, 6, and 12 months; Proportion re-entering foster care.
  1. Permanency
a. Outcome: Children remain in their homes.
Measure: Proportion removed from their home.
b. Outcome: Bonded attachments are maintained.
Measures: Proportion of siblings placed together; Frequency of visitation with kin; Proportion in a stable placement.
c. Outcome: Permanency is timely.
Measures: Proportion reunified with family within 12 months; Proportion adopted within 24 months.
  1. Well Being
a. Outcome: Children are healthy.
Measures: Proportion with physical health needs met; Proportion with mental health needs met.
b. Outcome: Children are educated.
Measure: Proportion performing at age-appropriate grade level.
This framework has been guided by the federal Child and Family Services Review.  Many of these measures may be obtained from a data sharing currently in place with Georgia DFCS.  Other measures may be obtained from data collection on the court side and case file reviews.
See for the most recent measures currently available to J4C. 
See SANCA report for information on the development of measures: SANCA Final Report .
In addition, J4C will continue to do small sample court case file reviews and court observations to give court a snapshot of how their files and process compare to others.
Major Goals for the Measures for Courts Project Key Targets for the Next Five Years:
  • General Education
All courts have a general understanding of framework
Strategies: active website, regular meetings, web bulletin board, list serv
  • Deep Knowledge
Intensive work with interested courts to receive significant training and support to measure court process
Strategies: county mini-summits, grant support, active information of research about measures and best practices
  • Identification of Focus Areas with Corresponding Strategies
Strategies: target focus areas, implement a best practice, measure impact; published paper on lessons learned


Supreme Court Committee on Justice for Children
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