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Susan B. Carbon, Former Director, Office on Violence Against Women"Judges play a critical role in the well-being of children, directly and indirectly. There are many cases where the child/youth is the focus, such as in a dependency (abuse or neglect) case, truancy (not attending school or running away – or other such "status" offenses), and delinquency proceedings, including drug court. In these cases, the court's decisions directly impact the child's daily environment and safety. Issues such as services ordered (e.g., counseling, treatment, medical and mental health treatment), placement (in-home or out of home), and school attendance are routinely considered. Decisions the court makes thus have the potential to positively, or negatively, impact the child's well-being. It is essential that judges understand the child's development, background and current circumstances to render decisions that will promote safety and well-being. The court must understand the circumstances and context behind the events which brought the child/youth into the court's jurisdiction. Similarly, a court may hear cases involving the child's parents, where decisions will also impact the child's future (e.g., divorce, unwed-parent custody proceedings, and guardianship cases). If, for example, a child is placed with a parent who has been abusive, rather than with a protective parent, the child's physical, emotional and psychological well-being will be compromised, both for the short-term and potentially long-term. Children who are victimized, and especially those for whom services are not provided, are at risk for future victimization and perpetration. A cycle of violence begins when neglect or abuse is not identified, and addressed."

 

Resource

National Council of Juvenile and Family Court Judges and Office of Juvenile Justice and Delinquency Prevention

Pathways from Traumatic Child Victimization to Delinquency: Implications for Juvenile and Permanency Court Proceedings and Decisions

A Judicial Checklist for Children and Youth Exposed to Violence
, (2006)

Checklist Technical Assistance Brief

Other Resources for Judges

Centre for Children and Families in the Justice System

Youth Exposed to Domestic Violence: A Handbook for the Juvenile Justice System to Enhance Assessment and Intervention Strategies for Youth from Violent Homes, (2003)


Biography of Susan B. Carbon, Former Director, Office on Violence Against Women, U.S. Department of Justice

Susan B. Carbon is the former Director of the United States Department of Justice's Office on Violence Against Women (OVW). Ms. Carbon was first appointed to the bench in 1991, and served as Supervisory Judge of the New Hampshire Judicial Branch Family Division from 1996 until 2010. She was a member of the Governor's Commission on Domestic and Sexual Violence and chaired New Hampshire's Domestic Violence Fatality Review Committee. Ms. Carbon also served as President of the National Council of Juvenile and Family Court Judges (NCJFCJ) from 2007 to 2008, and was President of the New Hampshire State Bar Association in 1993-94.


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