House of Representatives
Office of Program Research
This analysis was prepared by non-partisan legislative staff for the use of legislative members in their deliberations. This analysis is not a part of the legislation nor does it constitute a statement of legislative intent.
Title: An act relating to creation of the one family one team public-private court innovation demonstration.
Brief Description: Creating the one family one team public-private innovation demonstration.
Sponsors: Representatives Kagi, Walsh, Rodne, Fey, Jinkins, Pettigrew, Carlyle and McBride.
Hearing Date: 1/19/16
Staff: Cece Clynch (786-7195).
Family and Juvenile Court Improvement Program (FJCIP).
The state's superior courts handle a variety of family and juvenile cases. Family court cases include proceedings involving dissolution, parenting plans, child custody and support, paternity, and adoption. Juvenile court is a division of superior court that handles cases involving juveniles including juvenile offenses, dependencies, termination of parental rights, at risk youth and children in need of services, out-of-home placements, truancy, and emancipation of minors.
The FJCIP was established in 2008 to provide grants to superior courts to implement plans for improving the handling of family and juvenile court cases, especially child dependency cases, consistent with Unified Family Court (UFC) principles. The UFC is a model for handling cases involving children and families based on the following principles: the assignment of one judicial team to one family; centralized case management; specialized education for judicial officers; judicial assignments for longer terms to provide continuity; and mandatory mediation in certain cases.
The Administrative Office of the Courts (AOC) administers the FJCIP. A court wishing to receive FJCIP grant money must submit a plan that meets criteria consistent with UFC principles and that: (1) commits to a chief judge assignment to the family in juvenile court for a minimum of two years; (2) implements the principal of one judicial team hearing all proceedings in a case involving one family, especially in dependency cases; and (3) requires family and juvenile court commissioners and judges to receive a minimum of 30 hours of specialized training in family and juvenile matters within six months of assuming family and juvenile court duties.
Thirteen superior courts currently receive FJCIP funding to improve their family and juvenile court programs: Asotin with Columbia and Garfield; Clallam and Jefferson; King; Pierce; Snohomish; Chelan; Island; Kitsap; Spokane; and Thurston.
One Family One Team (OFOT) Pilot Court Program.
The 2015 omnibus appropriations act included a $75,000 appropriation for fiscal year 2016 for the planning and design of a dependency court improvement demonstration program. The December 2015 report of the One Family One Team Planning and Design Committee outlines an OFOT Pilot Court Program that will:
operate for 3 years;
involve four demonstration sites;
provide cross-training for team members;
include a trained judicial officer assigned to each OFOT court;
provide an early resolution diversion mediation program;
be funded through a public-private partnership, which will provide grants to the pilot courts and support program oversight, technical assistance, and evaluation; and
be assessed to determine whether the OFOT court practices improve case resolution and well-being outcomes for families in the pilot dependency courts and, based on the experience of the four pilot sites, policy and practice recommendations will provide options for enhancing the effectiveness of dependency courts across the state.
Summary of Bill:
The Administrative Office of the Courts (AOC) is directed to participate in the One Family One Team Public-Private Partnership (Partnership). The Partnership is a non-governmental public-private partnership that supports innovation in dependency court proceedings that provide well-trained and committed judicial leaders, an early resolution intervention, and a multidisciplinary team.
The Partnership must identify private funding that will be matched with public funding for a court demonstration program. The Partnership may receive staff support and meeting space from a private nonprofit organization dedicated to reforming the juvenile justice and child welfare systems in the state.
The Partnership must spend the first year designing and planning a court demonstration program to provide grants to superior courts wishing to implement an early resolution intervention model for resolving child welfare cases. The Partnership must convene a planning and design committee, co-chaired by a superior court representative and a member of the private partners, to identify an early resolution intervention model by December 1, 2015. The Partnership must also provide a statement of the public and private funding required in order to provide demonstration grants to four counties.
The Partnership must design grant guidelines and selection criteria based on a contractual agreement with the AOC, and if public funding is made available, administer a competitive grant program open to superior courts in the state. Grant applications must meet the following criteria:
agreement that all involved entities will fully participate in the demonstration;
commitment to provide judicial officers with ongoing training in issues unique to child welfare court;
assignment of judicial officers to family or juvenile court matters for a minimum of two years with the option to stay longer;
creation of a team-based approach in child welfare cases and provision of cross-system training to the team;
implementation of an early resolution component; and
participation in an evaluation conducted by an entity with expertise in child welfare systems research.
The One Family One Team Public-Private Partnership Account is created. All funds appropriated by the Legislature and provided by other sources to support the Partnership must be deposited in the account. The AOC may authorize expenditures from the account. Beginning August 1, 2015, the AOC must only use funds in the account to contract with the Partnership to design and administer planning grants. Expenditures may be made only after private funds are committed.
Fiscal Note: Available.
Effective Date: The bill takes effect 90 days after adjournment of the session in which the bill is passed.