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​Court Improvement Program

The federal government established the Court Improvement Program in 1994 as a response to the dramatic increase in child abuse and neglect cases and the expanded role of courts in achieving stable, permanent homes for children in foster care.  Grant funding is awarded to each state's highest court to continuously assess its foster care and adoption laws and judicial processes and to develop and implement plans for system improvements. 
The purpose of the CIP is to (1) promote the continuous quality improvement of court child welfare proceedings, and (2) enhance and expand collaboration between the judicial branch, Michigan Department of Health and Human Services, and Tribes to improve child welfare outcomes.
Michigan's Court Improvement Program operates a multi-disciplinary taskforce, which works to identify and address barriers to safety, permanency, and child and family well-being at the state and local levels. Members of the taskforce participate on one of five Court Improvement Program committees.

Court Process Improvement 

Staff Liaison: Erin House​

The CIP examined each court hearing in a child protective proceeding, developed best practice tips for courts and parties, and produced a report for child welfare professionals.  See the final report to the right under Task Force Reports.

Expanding Knowledge of the Indian Child Welfare Act

Child welfare proceedings involving Indian children have different requirements than cases involving non-Native children.  If the child lives on a reservation, a case must be decided by the child's tribal court instead of the state court.  Many cases involving Indian children who do not live on a reservation can be transferred to tribal courts.  When foster care placements or termination of parental rights proceedings for Indian children are brought before the state courts, those children, their Native American custodians, and their tribes have the right to become involved, enabling the cases to be transferred to Indian Tribal courts.  The children's parents, Indian custodians, and the tribes also are entitled to a notice of the state court hearing so they can appear and respond to the allegations or intervene and request a transfer, if appropriate.
Since 2009, the CIP has focused on expanding court and agency knowledge of the unique legal requirements when a case involves an Indian child.  A special workgroup was created to author an ICWA Court Resource Guide​, which contains best practice tips for courts on how to implement the ICWA.  The workgroup consisted of representatives from circuit and probate court judges associations, probate registers, court administrators, the Department of Human Services, prosecutors, and the federally-recognized tribes in Michigan.  The guide contains best practice tips for courts on how to implement the ICWA.
The CIP Tribal Court Relations Committee has three primary objectives:  improve outcomes for Native American children in the child welfare system, preserve Native American families, and strengthen the relationship of state and tribal courts in Michigan.  The committee attempts to address all matters that affect both tribal and state courts in a collaborative and effective manner.

Human Trafficking

Staff Liaison: Kelly Wagner