Engaging Youth in Court: A National Analysis

ABA Center for Children and the Law released a new report about a national analysis study of youth engagement and children coming to court. This report is not very long and contains a lot of valuable information.

Youth Engagement Projects focusing on court participation improve outcomes for youth in foster care. In most court contexts, the rules strongly favor first-hand information. Yet where a foster youth’s life is the topic of discussion, all too often, we have not been hearing directly from them. New data show that youth want to come to court and courts are able to make better decisions when they do.

A number of U.S. jurisdictions have looked at these issues. Many of these efforts were supported by state Court Improvement Programs. Evaluations included surveys of youth, attorneys, judges and social workers, as well as court observations.

In many cases, data was collected where states were making efforts to ensure and improve youth engagement, including:
• trainings and workshops providing youth and professionals with guidance on how to engage youth
• changes to court policies or procedures
• tools for youth, attorneys and others