recidivism in dependency courtRead Now
So I was listening to a lecture and a common issue that comes up with dependency attorneys is that parents' counsel fights for what the parent's wishes are but not what is in the child's best interest. Overzealous advocates for the parents may lead fight for what the parents want or for the case to end quicker but forget to ensure that parents and children do not return to the attention of the courts. The parent's counsel may push them to complete their case plan regardless of what their issues were that brought them to the attention of the court. Counsel may advocate for the parents to just do it and comply, but that may not be the correct treatment path for the parents. Counsel should really strive to fight for a case plan that really meets the parent's needs. Counsel should try to strive to use the evidence in the report to shape the mandates in the case plan. Counsel can help the parents by sitting in the CFTs and keeping the Agency on track when mapping out the case plan.
An analogy that the speakers used was the case plan as road map or GPS. The road map or GPS is used as a tool to help someone arrive at their intended destination as quickly as possible. But if the GPS is wrongly calibrated then the user arrives at the wrong place or arrives too late. The same with a case plan. If the parents are ordered to comply with a case plan that does not meet their specific needs then the parents are slowed in their reunification efforts and run the risk of recidivism as their pressing issues were never addressed. Take for example if someone with drugs and alcohol are ordered to intensive mental health treatment, medication, and or therapy this may be slightly helpful but does nothing to address their underlying alcoholism. If the alcoholism is not treated or addressed, then the chance of recidivism is much higher as the parent is likely to relapse without proper support. The children has a high chance to be returned to foster care thus traumatizing them even further. This is not all in the best interest of the child. And at times it seems as if juvenile court seems to push the parents and children through as fast as possible making case plans that are one size fits all despite the fact that they state the case plans are "tailored to the parent's specific needs". Another issue is that case plans that are too difficult or time consuming. With a case plan that is too difficult or time consuming, this reduces the parent's confidence in themselves and they may give up. Take for example if the parent is ordered to go a therapist that is two hours away, this may stress the parent out as they spend four hours driving to and from therapy that is not necessary.
Lets reduce recidivism and make case plans that really meets the parent's needs.
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Juvenile Dependency and