Court Orientation Program
Targeted Age Group(s)
- 18 or older
QIC-EY Engagement Model Components (i) The engagement model components were identified through the QIC-EY Environmental Scan as critical to the support of youth engagement in the attainment of permanence.
- Support Youth Empowerment
- Enhance Court Practices
The Monroe County Family Court (New York) is committed to offering meaningful support to children and youth regarding their judicial involvement, whether or not they are appearing in court. The Court Orientation Program is a voluntary, one-hour program for children 9 years of age and older who have been placed out of their home due to an abuse or neglect proceeding. The goal of the program is to provide information about the basic court process and the roles of legal professionals responsible for the child’s safety, well-being and permanency. Through this program, children and their foster parents will be empowered to understand their roles better and how they can participate in and facilitate the process. In addition to children 9 years and older, children younger than 9 may attend at the discretion of a foster parent, an attorney and/or a caseworker. A caseworker, the child’s attorney, a foster parent, a relative, a caregiver or another individual who is important to the child also may attend.
The program contains:
- information about the court process and other supports that help to decrease anxiety about coming to court.
- an opportunity to hear from and to talk with a judge.
- an opportunity to hear from and to talk with other professionals in the court and to learn about their roles.
- a visit to areas of the court such as children’s center, lobby, etc.
- experience being in a courtroom.
- specific information about the permanency hearing.
- discussion about appropriate courtroom behavior, attire and communication.
- an opportunity for questions and answers.
This strengthens youth engagement in court practices.
Orientation requires the participation of a judge, attorneys, court deputy/reporters, a foster parent and a court-appointed special advocate (CASA). Implementers should provide a glossary of legal vocabulary and a definition of roles to participants.