Courts Evaluation

Maine Judicial Branch
Statewide Adult Drug Court Program Evaluation and Training

Drug courts have been operational in Maine for nearly two decades. Today, Maine has ten types of drug courts (six adult, three family, and one adult co-occurring) serving twelve of Maine’s sixteen counties. With funding from the Bureau of Justice Assistance, HZA conducted a process and outcome evaluation of Maine’s adult drug court system. Using qualitative and quantitative methods, HZA measured the extent to which each program operates with evidence-based practices and also assessed the long-term impact of these programs on reducing recidivism and system-level costs. Outcomes of drug court participants are compared with a matched sample of traditionally adjudicated offenders.

 

Alaska Court System
Evaluation of the Palmer Coordinated Resources Project

The Palmer Coordinated Resources Project which serves as the Palmer Adult Mental Health Treatment Court became the second operational mental health court in the state upon receiving its first referral in January, 2005. Covering more than 23,000 square miles, it is a specialized criminal court docket dedicated to diverting non-violent mentally ill defendants from incarceration into a regimen of court-monitored, community-based treatment and social services. The overarching goals of the PCRP are to improve both clinical and criminal justice system outcomes. HZA’s evaluation showed that PCRP has reduced both criminal and clinical recidivism, resulting in a net institutional savings greater than the annual operational costs of the program.

 

Wisconsin Supreme Court
Reassessment of Court Performance in Children in Need of Protection or Services Cases

Wisconsin has received federal support for its Children’s Court Improvement Program (CCIP), a program which helps state courts improve their foster care and adoption laws and judicial processes. Each year, states receiving CCIP grant monies must submit program reports that assess not only the processes that have been completed but also their effect on children’s safety, permanency and well-being. From 2007 to 2012, HZA received contracts to develop a series of outcomes by which Wisconsin’s CCIP would be measured. Applying some of the key measures from the Child and Family Services Review, HZA found that results were improving over time.

 

Wisconsin Supreme Court
Assess the State Courts’ Role in the Effective Interstate Placement of Children

HZA was contracted to conduct an assessment of the State Courts’ role in the effective interstate placement of children. Due to the many complex requirements and regulations involved in interstate placements, constant process assessment and evaluation are important to ensure that procedures are both up to date and relevant. HZA documented existing interstate placement procedures with a special emphasis on the procedures used to exchange information with out-of-state courts, agencies and families. HZA also conducted an assessment of both Wisconsin’s compliance with existing state and federal laws, including the Uniform Child Custody and Jurisdiction Enforcement Act (UCCJEA) and the effectiveness of the existing interstate placement process. HZA offered specific changes to improve compliance with relevant statutes and outcomes for children in interstate placements.

 

Maine Judicial Branch
Evaluation of Maine’s Family Drug Treatment Courts

Family drug courts are specialized civil court proceedings responsible for handling child protective custody cases involving substance abuse by parents or other caregivers. These courts represent the coordinated efforts of judges, child protective caseworkers, treatment professionals and representatives from a variety of local, private and public sector agencies to address complex problems associated with substance abuse among parents involved in the child welfare system. In 2006 HZA began an evaluation of Maine’s family drug courts focusing on two issues: programmatic success in relation to treatment, child welfare and judicial outcomes; and systemic cost savings associated with those outcomes. Findings have included the following.

Family drug court participants were significantly more likely to enter into and complete treatment.

• Children of family drug court participants had significantly fewer placement changes and spent less time in foster care.
• Once returned to the home, children of these participants were less likely to experience a subsequent removal.

 

North Carolina Judicial Branch
Assessment of the Juvenile Courts Interstate Placement of Children

HZA was retained by the North Carolina Judicial Branch to evaluate court services in the interstate placement of children. The purpose of the statewide assessment was to assess the role, responsibilities and effectiveness of North Carolina’s Juvenile Courts in the interstate placement of children in abuse, neglect and dependency cases in light of the Safe and Timely Interstate Placement of Children Act, P.L. 109-239.