Since 1994, the Maryland Judiciary’s Foster Care Court Improvement Project’s (FCCIP) has endeavored to improve the Court’s performance in the handling of child abuse and neglect cases and to ensure the safety, permanency and the well-being of children in foster care. The primary focus of the FCCIP is child in need of assistance (CINA) and related guardianship and adoption cases. The FCCIP is comprised of juvenile judges, masters, court personnel, child welfare attorneys, representatives from the state child welfare agency, and other relevant child welfare stakeholders. Based upon a collaborative strategic planning process, the FCCIP has identified the following five focus areas:
- Implementing continuous quality improvement measures to systematically monitor court related programs and initiatives and obtain necessary timeliness measures to assist courts in tracking and assessing compliance with federally required timelines;
- Ensuring ongoing compliance with state and federal statute(s) and policies to improve the outcomes for children and families;
- Providing access to training and educational programming that enhances the knowledge of judicial officers, attorneys, and stakeholders in the area of child welfare law and improves judicial performance and quality representation in the processing of child abuse and neglect cases;
- Ensuring quality representation and streamlined court processes and procedures for all parties involved in the child welfare system; and
- Enhancing the availability and stress the significance of court programs and initiatives designed to improve permanency outcomes for families involved in child welfare matters.
FCCIP addresses the needs of these focus areas primarily through the work of its oversight committee and five subcommittees.