Family Court Pilot in Colorado’s 17th Judicial Districtclick to download
The Family Court Pilot Program of the 17th Judicial District was designed to “create an environment where agencies and individuals work together to improve the delivery of services to families who need them.” The Family Court Model attempts to remedy the problems inherent in fragmented hearings by ensuring that multiple cases involving the same family are heard by the same court. In general, Family Courts hear a combination of the following: dissolution of marriage, paternity, child support, allocation of parental responsibilities, domestic violence, protection/restraining orders, juvenile delinquency, status offenses, child protection, and substance abuse.
In the 17th Judicial District, the Family Court Pilot Program involved the random assignment of cases with dependency and neglect filings on or after September 1, 2000, to (a) the Family Court Division, or (b) traditional court processing (control group).
For the duration of the Pilot Program, each new dependency and neglect filing was researched by the Family Case Facilitator to determine if there were additional filings for any of the family members. The other types of court filings that might be bundled with the dependency proceeding included additional dependency filings, delinquency, truancy, adoptions, relinquishments, family-related misdemeanors, temporary and permanent restraining orders, DUI and DWAI charges, mental health, and domestic relations. Other cases could be added at the discretion of the court, although felony cases were not included. All cases were handled with the one-judge/one-family approach; that is, one judge was designated to hear all aspects of all cases related to one family.
Focus Area(s): Program Innovations
Author(s): Nancy Thoennes
Issues & Focus Areas
- Child Support
- Child Welfare
- Early Childhood & Education
- Economic Security & Healthcare
- Father Engagement & Healthy Relationships
- Gender-Based Violence