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Justice System Processing of Child Abuse and Neglect Cases: Final Report, Volume II

NCJ Number
Date Published
112 pages
This study examined how child abuse and neglect cases are processed through the courts in two different justice systems: West Palm Beach, Fla., and Chicago, Ill.
Data were collected and observations made from late 1993 to early 1994 and thus indicate case processing at these locations during a specific time period. Information came from interviews with judges, prosecuting and defense attorneys, and court administrators and a review of laws, rules, and written policies at each site. The research focused on the investigation and screening of child abuse and neglect reports, as well as the initiation of cases in the courts at each site and the movement of those cases through the courts. Results revealed that attorneys and judges in Chicago have the sense that the community response to crimes against children is working reasonably well. Delay in processing criminal child abuse and neglect cases was one problem noted. They noted both strengths and weaknesses in the handling of child abuse and neglect cases. Problems include lack of services for children and families, high caseloads, and other issues. Results also indicated that West Palm Beach has established several innovative solutions in the handling of crimes against children, but a good cooperative arrangement between police, prosecutors, and caseworkers is lacking. Results also indicated several strengths in abuse and neglect proceedings, as well as problems such as lack of funding for services and lack of communication between the juvenile and criminal divisions. Tables

Date Published: January 1, 1996