The Children’s Bureau of the United States Department of Health and Human Services supported a collaborative effort among the American Bar Association’s Center on Children and the Law, the National Council of Juvenile and Family Court Judges (NCJFCJ), and the National Center for State Courts (NCSC) to examine how lessons learned from Hurricanes Katrina and Rita could be applied to dependency courts and to recommend a strategic approach to ensure that the essential functions of dependency courts are sustained during an emergency or disaster.

As one of its contributions to this joint effort, the NCSC has produced this Web publication on issues to consider during times of crisis that will promote the safety, permanency, and well being of abused and neglected children.  Victor E. Flango from NCSC directed of this effort and was the overall editor of this web publication as well as the lead author for Issues I and X.  Authors of the other chapters are from NCSC unless otherwise noted:  Carolyn Ortwein (Issues II, III, and IV); Chantal Bromage (Issue V and assistant editor); William Raftery (Issue VI); Karen Gottlieb, Court Consultant and Susan Jennen Larson of Lawson Law and Technology (Issue VII): Robert Weber (Issue VIII); Dawn Marie Rubio, Mark Hardin of the ABA Center and Elizabeth Whitney Barnes of NCJFCJ (Issue IX); and Joan Cochet (bibliography). Charles Campbell edited the manuscript.  Interviews were conducted by Charles Ericksen and Victor Flango. Ray Foster directed the video production, Wes Poole edited the video clips, and Brian Johnson designed the web site and graphics. Elizabeth Whitney Barnes and Janine Cox from NCJFCJ reviewed and commended extensively on an earlier draft.

 

 

 

Acknowledgments

Project staff would like to express their appreciation to Dr. Hugh M. Collins, Judicial Administrator, Supreme Court of Louisiana, and Valerie S. Willard, Public Information Officer, for facilitating our visit to New Orleans. We are most grateful to Karen Hallstrom, Deputy Judicial Administrator for Children and Families; Anthony Gagliano, Deputy Judicial Administrator for Planning and Development; Joy Peacock, CASA Director for Jefferson Parish; The Honorable Calvin Johnson, Chief Judge of the New Orleans District Court at the time of the hurricane; The Honorable Ernestine S. Gray, Judge, Orleans Parish Juvenile Court, Child Protection Division; Ilona Picou, Recovery Coordinator, Orleans Parish Juvenile Court; and Geoffrey Stewart, Court Clerk, Orleans Parish Juvenile Court, for their willingness to be interviewed on camera. Thanks also to Elizabeth Stognor, Judicial Administrator, New Orleans District Court, and Bridget Daniels in the Judicial Administrators Office for their assistance in guiding Neal Kauder to areas of devastation. Shelley Nicholson in Judge Gray’s court assisted us with scheduling interviews and arranging a meeting room. Thomas D. McGuire, Catastrophe Operations Manger for Munters Corporation very generously gave of his time and that of his staff to explain and permit us to video the moisture control process. We would also like to acknowledge the contributions of Emily Cooke, J.D., Special Assistant for Court Improvement for the Children’s Bureau and Project Officer for this effort. The project team is indebted to each and every one of you.

 

 

Table Of Contents

Introduction

I. Why Must the Needs of Children Come First?
A. Why Is This Issue Important?
B. Suggestions and Considerations

II. Why Do Dependency Courts Need Their Own Emergency Preparedness Plans?
A. Why Is This an Issue?
B. Why Is This Issue Important?
C. Suggestions and Considerations

III. Why Should Dependency Courts Participate in Court Plans?
A. Why Is This Issue Important?
B. Suggestions and Considerations

IV. Why Have an Emergency Preparedness Program?
A. Why Is This Issue Important?
B. Suggestions and Considerations

V. Why Establish Emergency Communication Procedures?
A. Why Is This an Issue?
B. Why Is This Issue Important?
C. Suggestions and Considerations

VI. How Do Jurisdictional Issues Affect Business Continuity Efforts?
A. What Is This an Issue?
B. Why Is This Issue Important?
C. Suggestions and Considerations

VII. How Should the Best Interests of the Child Be Balanced Against the Need for Confidentiality of Records in Times of Emergency?
A. Why Is This an Issue?
B. Why Is This Issue Important?
C. Suggestions and Considerations

VIII. What Consideration Must Be Given to Court Records?
A. Why Is This an Important Issue?
B. Suggestions and Considerations

IX. What are the Minimal Requirements for Hearings?
A. Why Is This an Important Issue?
B. Suggestions and Considerations

X. Why Does Emergency Preparedness Require Training?
A. Why Is This an Important Issue?
B. Suggestions and Considerations

References
Emergency Preparedness Bibliography