Children's Justice Initiative
The Children’s Justice Initiative (CJI) is a five year project spearheaded by Chief Justice Kathleen Blatz. It was established in 2004 as a joint venture between the Minnesota Supreme Court and the Minnesota Department of Human Services. The purpose of CJI is to timely find safe, permanent homes for abused and neglected children, whether that is through reunification with parents or some other permanent placement options. CJI teams have been formed in all of Minnesota's 87 counties with a common goal of improving the process of child protection cases and the outcomes for abused and neglected children.
The overall objective when identifying and implementing improvements, is for all stakeholders to operate “through the eyes of the child.”
Our local Children’s Justice Initiative Team is devised of key stakeholders from both Lake and Cook Counties. Members include county attorneys, human services personnel, social workers, the local judiciary, Guardians ad Litem, public defenders, court administrators, school officials, and tribal representatives. Through this collaboration of departments and resources, we hope to make significant improvements in local child protection matters. We strive to implement these changes while maintaining a strong focus on the child.
In 2002 the State of Minnesota had 26,300 reports of maltreatment filed and 10,000 of the children in those cases were determined by the court to be maltreated. That same year there were approximately 5,500 Child Protection Petitions filed. The children involved in these cases are 59% more likely to be arrested than non-abused or neglected children. Through our dedicated team, we hope to make lasting changes, which will offset these alarming figures. Our current focus is on improving.
Timeliness and adherence to timelines.
Identification of all relevant issues in advance of proceedings.
An improved understanding of the tribes role in the juvenile process
A greater respect for all parties involved in the process.
Evaluation of criteria for bringing CHIPS cases into the court system.