Impact of Reform in the Cook County Juvenile Court's Child Protection Division
With increased emphasis on permanency planning in the delivery of child welfare services, the Cook County Juvenile Court has made substantial progress in cutting the time needed to process cases toward family reunification, adoption or guardianship.
This paper summarizes the findings of Chapin Hall's analysis of timeliness in the Circuit Court of Cook County's Child Protection Division. The study, which collected data through observation of courtroom activities and also involved the analysis of court administrative data, followed up on a 1996 examination of the juvenile court. The study found substantial areas of progress in decreasing the time necessary to complete the sequence of hearings required to achieve permanent placements for children (through either family reunification, adoption, or guardianship). The study also identifies practices and procedures that appear to influence (positively or negatively) the Court's ability to achieve timely permanence for children.