On Tuesday, April 14, 2020, the Children’s Bureau released new guidance highlighting and strongly encouraging court leaders to engage Court Improvement Programs (CIPs) in assisting dependency courts to respond to Coronavirus Disease 2019 (COVID-19).

Associate Commissioner Jerry Milner instructed Chief Justices and State Court Administrators to “work closely with the CIP in your state or territory to help acquire and support telework and video-conferencing equipment and software that will allow judges to continue to provide statutorily required oversight in ways consistent with public health mandates.”

In addressing the public health crisis, Milner acknowledged that some states have determined that CIP staff are nonessential and the stating, “we strongly encourage Chief Justices and State Court Administrators to work with Governors to reexamine such determinations and permit telework as CIP leadership, funding, and staff are critical to supporting court capacity to continue protecting our children and families in these challenging times.”

Also, the Capacity Building Center for Courts developed a tool for Conducting Effective Remote Hearings in Child Welfare Cases.