Assessing the Relationship between Efficiency and Effectiveness in Juvenile Dependency Cases

Prior NCJFCJ research (Wood, Russell, Macgill, & Summers, under review) suggests that lower judicial workloads are related to timely permanency in juvenile dependency cases. Lower judicial workloads were associated with a higher percentage of juvenile dependency cases achieving permanency within timeliness guidelines. This important finding could be expanded upon in two ways. First, specifying which permanent outcome was being achieved (e.g., termination of parental rights, reunification, or relative placement) would add precision. Second, a consideration of effectiveness (i.e., safe permanency without re-entry) in addition to efficiency (i.e., timeliness) of case processing, would provide a more complete understanding of the effects of judicial workloads.