Present: Judge Sonja Clapp, via telephone (Chair) Judge Todd Cresap Judge David Reich Dennis Herbeck Robin Huseby Karen Kringlie, via telephone Tara Mulhauser Connie Portscheller, via telephone Dale Rivard Bob Rutten
Absent: Judge Richard Grosz Scott Davis
Staff: Louie Hentzen Lee Ann Barnhardt Catie Palsgraaf Lana Zimmerman, scribe
Judge Clapp called the meeting to order. She asked Lee Ann Barnhardt and Catie Palsgraaf to
update the committee on the changes to the eligibility for the Court Improvement Project Grants,
which include: Education, Data Collection and Analysis, GAL, and ICWA.
The Administration for Children and Families (ACF) issued the draft program instruction for
eligibility for CIP grants in Fiscal Years 2012-2016.
Summary of Changes: Overall, the changes involve utilizing continuous quality improvement (CQI), measurable
objectives and the subsequent data for improvement or retooling.
* One overall strategic plan, rather than a strategic plan for each grant. Each activity in the
strategic plan must designate which grant provides the funding stream. More than one grant may
be designated for each activity.
* The overall strategic plan must identify ways to ensure the state engages in CQI. Data
collection and reporting related to CQI must also be identified.
* The strategic plan must implement CQI to ensure neglect and abuse proceedings promote due
process, quality court hearings, and quality legal representation of parents, children, and title IV-B/IV-E Agencies.
o Due Process: e.g. number of judges/referees per case, services of process; early
appointment of advocates for children; early appointment of counsel for parents;
advance notice of hearings to parties; foster parents; preadoptive parents and
o Quality Court Hearings: e.g. timely and adequate notice; ICWA inquiry was
made; timely filing of court reports; provision of language assistance services;
court encouragement of cooperative, problem-solving when possible; presence of
parents, children and corresponding legal counsel; continuances granted;
specificity of court orders; copy of court order provided to parties prior to leaving
o Quality Legal Representation: e.g. timing of appointment of counsel; presence of
attorney in court; active attorney participation in hearings; timeliness of pleadings;
frequency and nature of out of court interaction between attorney and client prior
to and between hearings; attorney caseload information; attorney participation in
* Each activity in the strategic plan must fall into at least one of three strategic categories:
o Court Function Improvement: e.g. timeliness and quality of court hearings; quality
of legal representation; improving court orders; quality of engagement of family in
court processes; quality of efforts of family reunification or adoption.
o Capacity Building: e.g. judicial knowledge and expertise; cross-training with
stakeholders; data collection and data infrastructure; sharing data with DHS and
other involved state agencies; collaborative work with Tribes.
o Systemic Reform: e.g. legislative and law reform initiatives; judicial leadership
activities; CIP participation in committees and work groups; collaboration with
Tribes; efforts to encourage and promote concurrent ASFA planning.
* Each activity must be measurable and include a target goal.
* Data collection and reporting are required annually for specific timeliness measures:
o Time to First Permanency Hearing: the time from filing the original deprivation
petition to the first permanency hearing.
o Time to all Subsequent Permanency Hearings: the time between each permanency
hearing until final permanency is achieved.
o Time to Permanent Placement: the time from filing the original deprivation
petition to legal permanency (reunification, adoption, legal guardianship or
placement with a fit and willing relative).
o Time to Termination of Parental Rights Petition: the time from filing the original
deprivation petition to filing the TPR petition.
o Time to Termination of Parental Rights: the time from filing the original
deprivation petition to the order termination parental rights.
* Strategic plans and annual reports must clearly demonstrate meaningful and ongoing
collaboration between state courts, DHS and Tribes.
* Strategic plans must include specific strategies for participation in CFSR and title IV-E foster
care eligibility review processes, including participation on review teams, in entrance and exit
interview and on program improvement plan (PIP) team.
It was determined by this committee to have the four sub-committee chairs complete the
* Draft a 5 year strategic plan for the sub-committee covering FYs 2012-2016. The plan can
include aspirational elements, as the plan will be reviewed, updated and reported annually. The
sub-committee plans will be incorporated into one overall strategic plan.
* Identify activities with corresponding needs, outcomes and measurable objectives.
* For each activity, ensure it falls into one or more of the strategic categories (court function
improvement, capacity building, systemic reform) and is measurable. More than one strategic
category may be identified for each activity.
* Incorporate required CQI into the activities (due process, quality court hearings, quality legal
representation). The approaches for CQI should reflect anticipated outcomes to improve court
functioning, family improvement and/or court capacity building; measurable objectives and
related activities for each outcome under each CIP grant; and use of the data to improve or retool
* Complete a draft prior to the December 1, 2011 CIP strategic plan meeting. The activity or
activities should include the above requirements, but do not need to be numerous. The final product is due to ACF on January 20, 2012.
CIP Meeting Dates for 2012 are as follows:
March 30, 2012 - Bismarck June 13, 2012 - Grand Forks September 5, 2012 - Minot December 14, 2012 - Bismarck
A motion was made by Tara Mulhauser to adjourn the meeting. Dennis Herbeck seconded. Meeting adjourned.