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To perform their judicial oversight role required under federal and state law, and to better serve children and families, judges need a clear description of how best to fulfill their judicial responsibilities in child abuse and neglect cases. To that end, the Children's Justice Initiative (CJI) has published the Minnesota Judges Juvenile Protection Benchbook. The Benchbook sets forth the elements of a high-quality judicial process at each stage of a child protection proceeding. Consistent with federal and state statutes, federal and state case law, and the Minnesota Rules of Juvenile Protection Procedure, the Benchbook specifies the necessary elements of a fair, thorough, and timely court process. For each type of hearing (e.g., Emergency Protective Care, Admit/Deny, Adjudication, Disposition, Disposition Review, Permanent Placement Determination, etc.), the Benchbook identifies the specific findings, conclusions, and orders required at each stage of the proceeding.
The Benchbook is being made accessible to all child protection system stakeholders so that they also are better able to comply with federal and state laws and to serve children and families involved in child protection court cases. The Benchbook will be reqularly updated to reflect revisions to federal and state statutes, rules, and case law. You are encourage to submit comments regarding suggested issues or revisions using the Comment Form available in Chapter 41 or directly to the CJI staff using the link below.
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Judy Nord, Court Services