For the sake of the children and families involved, the public child welfare agency and the
associated court system that oversees dependency cases need to be aligned. Each shares the same
goals: to keep children and youth safe and to secure safe, permanent homes for children. In
addition, since research indicates that children exposed to abuse and neglect are at an increased
risk of being arrested as juveniles for a delinquent act, the court that oversees such offenses
also needs to be included in a public child welfare communications plan.
Open and candid communications between the courts and the public child welfare agency serves two
important purposes. Firstly, when responding to media inquiries, it is helpful to have a general
knowledge of how the judicial branch of government operates - their constraints and
responsibilities. This allows the agency spokesperson to be more complete in their responses.
Secondly, if the judicial system and the public child welfare system have a broad understanding of
the other’s role and responsibilities, both are better able to work together to achieve their
goals, resulting in better service coordin tion and better outcomes for children, youth
and families involved. Communications can assist to strengthen these relationships