Since 1994, the Maryland Judiciary’s Foster Care Court Improvement Program (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 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 judges and family magistrates, with participation and cooperation from court personnel, child welfare attorneys, representatives from the state child welfare agency, and other relevant stakeholders. Based on 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 statutes and policies to improve the outcomes for children and families;
- Providing access to resources that enhance the knowledge of judicial officers, attorneys, and stakeholders in the area of child welfare law and improves quality representation, and training to improve judicial performance;
- Ensuring quality representation and streamlined court processes and procedures for all parties involved in the child welfare system;
- Enhancing the availability and stressing the significance of court programs and initiatives designed to improve permanency outcomes for families in child welfare matters.
FCCIP addresses these focus areas primarily through the work of the Foster Care Improvement Program Subcommittee and individual workgroups that are assigned to specific initiatives.
Committees and Workgroups
The Foster Care Court Improvement Program Subcommittee is comprised of six members: Judge Patrick L. Woodward, Chair; Judge David Young; Judge William O. Carr; Judge Theresa M. Adams; Judge Cheryl McCally, and Magistrate Althea Stewart Jones.
Currently, FCCIP has active or proposed workgroups for the following projects and initiatives:
- The Child Abuse, Neglect, and Dependency Options Conference
- Representation Resources
- Kinship Care
- Safe Haven for Infants Legislation