Families in Waiting: Adult Stakeholder Perceptions of Family Court.
Shdaimah, Corey. Summers, Alicia.
Published: September 2014
Children and Youth Services Review
Vol. 44 , p. 114-119
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This study examines perspectives of adults (primarily parents) who participated in juvenile delinquency or dependency hearings at the family division of the Baltimore City Circuit Court. Most respondents understood the court process, felt that their voices were heard, and were satisfied with their treatment. While the majority reported fair treatment, parents were more likely than non-parents to report that judges were sometimes or usually unfair. Respondents with the same judge were more likely than respondents with multiple judges to feel that the judge cared about how they and their children were doing and less likely to feel that the judge does not know enough about the case to make a fair decision. These findings provide support for the one family, one judge docketing system, which was implemented in Baltimore's dependency cases. Observations and open-ended responses revealed concern about the chaos and discomfort of the court waiting areas. Concerns included lack of seating, space or activities for young children, and food as well as stress, confusion, and long wait times. Study findings call for more attention to the environment, which impacts stakeholder experiences of and ability to function optimally in the court process. (Author abstract)
family courts; parental attitudes; juvenile delinquency; parent engagement; court litigation; JUDICIAL DECISIONS; JUDGES; maryland