Child welfare and social services agencies must work in collaboration with juvenile and family courts. Both are responsible for protecting children and ensuring their safety, health, and well-being. Tribal courts may take their roles farther when working with their Tribe’s child welfare and social services departments by ensuring culturally competent services are provided to strengthen families and support reunification.
A Children’s Code authorizes a court to provide protection for children and potentially intervene for the general welfare of a child whose health, welfare, and safety are at risk. Children’s Codes provide definitions of abuse and neglect and contain laws pertaining to abuse and neglect reports and investigations.
Transitioning or expanding a jurisdiction’s capability to adjudicate child welfare civil cases means courts must both prepare their judicial and court staff to handle a different type of civil case as well as to develop new or strengthen current relationships with caseworkers; practitioners; service providers; and, at times, other court systems.