Revised: 11/19/2014


What is the Juvenile Dependency Electronic Benchbook?

The Benchbook is intended as a guide for juvenile court judges and referees. It provides general information on juvenile law, court procedures, and recommended practices. It is written with simple summaries of the relevant considerations along with legal citations linked to primary sources. It is organized by hearing type and is cross referenced to the model juvenile dependency court forms.

Each section of the Benchbook is subdivided into three subsections. The first contains general information about the hearing’s purpose, likely participants, and how to conduct the hearing. The second section correlates numerically to the model juvenile dependency forms. Since many jurisdictions will modify the model forms to meet local needs, this section provides an explanation of the form’s content with citations to primary legal sources. The third section builds on the essential elements contained in the forms. It contains additional best practices and a host of other considerations aimed at improving court outcomes and efficacy with addressing the needs of children and families.

The Benchbook’s content and format depend on the input and advice of stakeholders. It is designed to be easily modified and updated as the law changes, best practices develop, and the needs of juvenile judges and referees evolve.

The Benchbook can be accessed through Lotus Notes, through a browser, or from a downloaded copy on a PC. If a network connection exists, Lotus Notes will be the primary access. If a network connection is unavailable, the Benchbook will be run locally with the Lotus Notes client. The Benchbook is also available, through the JCIP website.

Link to the Juvenile Court Improvement Project Webpages:

Here, you'll find information on the Juvenile Court Improvement Project, including its products and projects such as the Technical Support Bulletins and self-tests on dependency, consolidation, permanency and ICWA.

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