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One Family, One Judge, No Continuances


  • Alicia Summers,

  • Corey Shdaimah

  • Authors' Note: The National Council of Juvenile and Family Court Judges wishes to acknowledge that this material is made possible by Cooperative Agreement No. 2009-MU-MU-K001 from the Office of Juvenile Justice and Delinquency Prevention, Office of Justice Programs, U.S. Department of Justice.


Continuances are a source of delay in juvenile dependency cases that may increase the length of time a child is in care. The current study builds upon an emerging body of research examining the effectiveness of the one family, one judge model in improving case efficiency. The study first examines the expectation that continuances delay case processing, then examines whether the implementation of a one family, one judge model of judicial oversight reduces continuances. Results reveal that continuances delay case events up to the adjudication hearing, but do not delay time to permanency. Although implementation of the one family, one judge model did not reduce continuances, there was a relationship between the number of judicial officers per case and number of continuances. When there is only one judicial officer per case, the majority of cases have no or only one continuance. Every two judicial officers added to the case result in one additional continuance. These findings indicate that judicial continuity can be an effective way to improve case efficiency.