D.C. Family Court:

Progress Made Toward Planned Transition and Interagency Coordination, but Some Challenges Remain

GAO-02-797T: Published: Jun 5, 2002. Publicly Released: Jun 5, 2002.

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Cornelia M. Ashby
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The District of Columbia Superior Court has made progress in planning the transition of its Family Division to a Family Court, but some challenges remain. The Superior Court's transition plan addresses most, but not all, of the required elements outlined in the District of Columbia Family Court Act of 2001. Significantly, the completion of the transition hinges on timely completion of a complex series of interdependent plans intended to obtain and renovate physical space to house the court and its functions. All required space may not be available, as currently planned, to support the additional judges the Family Court needs to perform its work in accordance with the act, making it uncertain as to when the court can fully complete its transition. Although not required as part of its transition plan efforts, the Superior Court has begun to coordinate its activities with social services agencies in the District. However, the court and agencies face challenges in achieving coordinated services in the longer term. Finally, the development and application of the District of Columbia Courts' Integrated Justice Information System will be critical for the Family Court to be able to operate effectively, evaluate its performance, and meet its judicial goals in the context of the changes mandated by the Family Court Act.

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