The Impact of Model Court Reform in Arizona on the Processing of Child Abuse and Neglect Cases

Authors

  • GREGORY J. HALEMBA,

    Corresponding author
    1. Director of Applied Research, National Center for Juvenile Justice in Pittsburgh, Pa., research division of the National Council of Juvenile and Family Court Judges.
      National Center for Juvenile Justice 710 Fifth Avenue, Suite 3000 Pittsburgh, PA 15219-3000
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  • GENE C. SIEGEL,

    Corresponding author
    1. Research Assistant at the Center's Pittsburgh headquarters, National Center for Juvenile Justice in Pittsburgh, Pa., research division of the National Council of Juvenile and Family Court Judges.
      National Center for Juvenile Justice 710 Fifth Avenue, Suite 3000 Pittsburgh, PA 15219-3000
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  • RACHAEL D. GUNN,

    Corresponding author
    1. Research Associate, National Center for Juvenile Justice in Pittsburgh, Pa., research division of the National Council of Juvenile and Family Court Judges.
      National Center for Juvenile Justice 710 Fifth Avenue, Suite 3000 Pittsburgh, PA 15219-3000
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  • SUSANNA ZAWACKI

    Corresponding author
    1. Research Assistant at the Center's Tucson office, National Center for Juvenile Justice in Pittsburgh, Pa., research division of the National Council of Juvenile and Family Court Judges.
      National Center for Juvenile Justice 710 Fifth Avenue, Suite 3000 Pittsburgh, PA 15219-3000
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National Center for Juvenile Justice 710 Fifth Avenue, Suite 3000 Pittsburgh, PA 15219-3000

ABSTRACT

Arizona juvenile courts have taken a series of steps over the past five years to improve the quality and timeliness of court proceedings in child abuse and neglect matters. These efforts encompass both procedural reforms to front-load the early hearing process as well as reforms that require a clearly demarcated permanency hearing and permanency determination process. A comparative analysis of the impact of these changes in four selected counties reveals that child abuse and neglect cases are handled in a more timely manner; that children are spending considerably less time in out-of-home placements; that courts are becoming more specific in the orders generated at dependency hearings (particularly initial hearings); and that the State and federal governments have realized sizeable savings in placement costs.

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