Mission Statement

The Child Welfare Court Improvement Project ("CWCIP") is a federally-funded initiative that supports the Family Court's mandate to promote the safety, permanence and well-being of abused and neglected children.

In recognition of the integral role courts play in charting the course for children who are the subject of abuse, neglect, foster care, termination of parental rights and adoption proceedings, the project provides resources and technical assistance to promote continuous quality improvement at the intersection of the legal/judicial and child welfare systems.



A child welfare system that is collaborative, acts urgently to achieve timely, stable permanency, is trauma informed and data driven.


Child Permanency Mediation

Child Welfare Permanency Mediation is a program offered through the Unified Court System, Office for Justice initiative, Child Welfare Court Improvement Project. Permanency Mediation is a consensual dispute resolution process for Family Court Article 10 cases in which a specially trained impartial mediator helps parties to identify issues, clarify perceptions and explore options for a mutually acceptable outcome. The Permanency Mediation program utilizes district wide, court-based rosters. Mediators are admitted to the court roster pursuant to Part 146 of the Rules of the Chief Administrative Judge. Part 146 articulates minimum training and experience requirements for mediators. Child Permanency Mediation Program roster mediators are experienced mediators who have participated in training in advanced family mediation techniques, child welfare laws and regulations, domestic violence issues, large group facilitation techniques, trauma informed care and cultural humility/implicit bias.

Currently there are approved programs in the 5th, 6th, 7th and 8th Judicial Districts. For more information, please contact the Program Administrator: Suzanne Shafer at (315) 266-4256 or [email protected].

Video: Overview of permanency mediation practices in NYS

CWCIP Child Permanency Mediation Program Brochure


Court Data Metrics

2023 Child Welfare Court Data Metrics PDF

2021 Child Welfare Court Data Metrics PDF

2019-20 Child Welfare Court Data Metrics PDF

2018 Child Welfare Court Data Metrics PDF

2017 Child Welfare Court Data Metrics PDF


Permanency Hearing Project

A growing body of research shows that the quality of court hearings is linked to case outcomes. In an effort to determine what effect Permanency Hearings have on permanency outcomes in New York, the Child Welfare Court Improvement Project in partnership with Casey Family Programs, Data Savvy Consulting, and the Capacity Building Center for Courts, undertook a multi-year research project with 12 counties in the state to assess the quality of these hearings and the resulting impact on outcomes. The below publications encompass a wide range of data and information gleaned during this project.

  • Quick Sheet Informational brief on the reports and resources generated from this project.
  • Statewide Findings An overview of practice across the 12 pilot sites involved in the project, including data from the five boroughs in New York City and seven other sites around the state. The Statewide Findings report illustrates trends in court hearings practice, describes statewide practice, and discusses variations among the sites regarding hearing quality indicators.
  • Linking Hearing Quality to Outcomes This report explores the relationship between hearing quality variables of interest (e.g., presence and engagement of parties, topics discussed, findings on the record) with outcomes of interest such as time to permanency, reunification, and children still in care after 24 months.
  • Permanency Hearing Guiding Questions were developed to support a structured approach to consistent quality permanency hearings. This guide supports strong practice from all professionals involved in a permanency hearing.
  • Toolkit: Assessing Quality of Permanency Hearings was created to support jurisdictions who wish to assess their own practices with an eye toward improving outcomes for the children and families who come before the court. Filled with step-by-step directions, information on data gathering, and other supporting materials, this toolkit provides solid guidance for replicating this project.


Trauma Informed Care Project

This project is geared towards court, legal and child welfare systems and aims to create a systemwide cultural shift towards trauma informed practices using evidence-based approaches for organizational change. Choose from the available programs, and we will work tailor our assistance to your specific needs. For more information contact Aimee Neri.

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