FYLaw Aids Ohio Courts in Child Welfare Cases

 

Every day, Ohio juvenile court judges make difficult decisions in cases involving child abuse, neglect, or dependency.  Their decisions impact children’s safety and well-being and the integrity of families involved in the child welfare system.  Frequently, critical decisions are made without the input of all who are integrally involved -- the youth and children who are the focus of such cases, and the individuals who care for them when their parents cannot. 

To help courts address this issue, the Supreme Court of Ohio has just released two resources, the Caregiver Notice Toolkit and the Youth Engagement Toolkit.  Both Toolkits are aimed at helping courts ensure that all essential voices are heard in court proceedings and that the rich information youth and caregivers can provide informs judicial decision-making.

The Toolkits, developed by the Court with the assistance of staff and law students at the Family and Youth Law Center (FYLaw) at Capital University Law School, include sample forms, model rules, and other resources for juvenile courts to use in working with children and caregivers.  Key tools are court templates for courts to use in notifying youth and caregivers of hearing dates and their rights to attend and be heard, and tips on effective information-sharing.

FYLaw frequently collaborates with the Ohio Supreme Court, Ohio juvenile courts, the Ohio Department of Job and Family Services, and other child and family-focused agencies on initiatives to improve the law, policies, and practices governing child welfare and juvenile justice systems.  Capital Law students support better outcomes for children and families involved with these systems by providing key research and drafting assistance for all FYLaw projects.