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Parents in court study are “more than just a case file”

Monday, September 12, 2011   (0 Comments)
Posted by: Taylor Stockdell
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Parents in court study are "more than just a case file”

Denver, CO –In a two year study exploring the court experiences of seventy parents involved in dependency and neglect cases in Colorado, parents reported that they were "more than just a case file.” The parents were also able to identify those services and directives that were most helpful and those that were least productive in their particularcase.

The study, "Parent Voices: The Other Side of the Bench,” was conducted over a two year period, using 70 English and Spanish surveys andseven interviews of parents who were involved in dependency and neglect court proceedings.The purpose of the study was to gain a better understanding of the challenges and circumstances of court clients, seenas critical factors inachievingoutcomes that are in the best interestof children and families. Themes also included: substance abuse, poverty or low income situations, representation, and inconsistencies regarding regional differences as to treatment and outcomes. By learning more about the experiences of parents, courts can gain a broader perspective and, therefore, improve Colorado's overall child protection systems while also working towardachieving safety, stability and the overall best interests of children.

The "Parent's Voices” study isa project of the Colorado Judicial Institute's Family Law Committee and follows the 2007 study, "A Voice of Their Own,” which explored the court experiences of youth in foster care.

K.C. Groves, chair of the CJI Family Law Committee states, "Not only do these studies point out the inadequacies of the system, but more importantly, those interviewed indicate which models have proved to be successful. All who touch the lives of these families can build on these models and provide more efficient and consistent methods for improving family courts.”

Both studies were co-sponsored by the Colorado Judicial Institute and Mile High United Way and were conducted by Becky Miller Updike, a Ph.D. candidate in Child and Family Leadership at the University of Denver. Ms. Updike was recently selected to fill the state position of the Colorado Child's Protection Ombudsman.

Founded in 1979, CJI is a non-profit community organization dedicated to preserving and enhancing the independence and excellence of Colorado courts, furthering public understanding of the Colorado judicial system, and ensuring that the courts meet the needs of the people. CJI's Family Law Committee's mission is to identify, promote and participate in court projects that support and produce successful outcomes for children and families, thereby helping to "meet the needs of the people”.

The full study is available at

For further information, contact Amy Ostheimer, Executive Director, Colorado Judicial Institute at 303-909-5944 or

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