Child and Family Services Review (CFSR) Quality Hearing Project Workgroup

CFSR/Quality Hearing Project Workgroup

The overarching goal of the Child and Family Services Review (CFSR) Quality Hearing Project Workgroup is to assess and strengthen the quality of dependency court hearings across the state of Ohio. The project will utilize professional hearing review and analysis of a sample of A/N/D hearings held in juvenile courts throughout Ohio as a sample of the state as a whole. The review and assessment will provide both county-specific and state-wide aggregate data.

The study will answer the following questions:
1. What does current AND hearing practice look like across the state?
2. What are the strengths of current practice?
3. What are the opportunities for enhancement of practice?
4. How does hearing practice relate to case outcomes?

Project Process
Participating counties will provide recordings of A/N/D shelter care and permanency/annual review cases (a minimum of 10 hearings of each type are requested). The contracted research professional will review these recorded hearings using a structured court observation tool and report on various subcategories. The court observation tool includes examination of parties present, judicial engagement, attorney advocacy, party participation, topics discussed, findings made on the record, and whether or not additional scheduling matters were addressed during the hearing.

Each participating county will receive a site-specific Summary of Findings which can be used to both highlight A/N/D practice strengths and also guide discussions for opportunities for growth. A state-wide aggregate report of findings across participating counties will also be compiled and shared, allowing for a comprehensive review of A/N/D practice strengths and opportunities state-wide. The analysis will also include data related to how hearing practice is related to case outcomes. The CFSR/Quality Hearing Workgroup will review all collected data to determine priorities in state-wide improvement needs.

After the review, the Workgroup will create tools and develop training recommendations. The Workgroup will also create an evaluation plan to determine if the tools and trainings are being utilized and what effect they have had on hearings. The final recommendations and tools will be presented to the Subcommittee Responding to Child Abuse, Neglect, and Dependency (CAND) for review.

Ohio Hearing Quality Study Final Report: Examining the Quality of Child Welfare Court Hearing Practice in Ohio