February 28, 2018

Court Improvement Program

The ABA is urging the House and Senate to pass bipartisan legislation to reauthorize the Court Improvement Program (CIP), a critical program that provides the only federal funds to the state courts for improving legal processes in the child welfare system. H.R. 4461 and S. 2173, the Continuation of Useful Resources to States (COURTS) Act, would reauthorize CIP for four years. CIP serves all 50 states, the District of Columbia, Puerto Rico, and the U.S. Virgin Islands. Every state receives $255,000 with additional funding based on the number of children ages 0-18 living in the state. Each state may use this funding for the court improvement projects deemed most important in its jurisdiction, including judicial training, data sharing between agencies and courts, and mediation programs. ABA Governmental Affairs Director Thomas M. Susman emphasized in letters sent Dec. 20 and Feb. 27 to the House and Senate leadership that because the number of children entering foster care has grown in many states, court caseloads have correspondingly increased. As a result, he explained, “additional federal financial assistance has become imperative.”

 

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