Preliminary Protective Hearing Benchcard (PPH Benchcard)

Scientific Rating:
3
Promising Research Evidence
See scale of 1-5
Child Welfare System Relevance Level:
High
See descriptions of 3 levels

About This Program

The information in this program outline is provided by the program representative and edited by the CEBC staff. Preliminary Protective Hearing Benchcard (PPH Benchcard) has been rated by the CEBC in the area of: Reducing Racial Disparity and Disproportionality in Child Welfare: Programs.

Target Population: Judges in the dependency court system where there may be high placement rates into foster care and disparate treatment of children of color

Brief Description

Intended for use during initial juvenile dependency hearings, the Courts Catalyzing Change Preliminary Protective Hearing (PPH) Benchcard asks judges to reflect on the decision-making process to identify and attempt to minimize institutional bias and to consider some key inquiries, analyses, and decisions relating to removal, placement, and services. The PPH Benchcard is built around two types of inquiry: internal and external. The internal inquiry is set forth in a self-reflection section containing questions designed to help judges examine potential biases at play that may affect their decisions. The external inquiry considers due process related questions and considerations as well as the actual judicial inquiry of the hearing participants related to specific salient issues that should be determined at the preliminary protective hearing. Before they first use the PPH Benchcard, judges and other stakeholders participate in a training focused on implicit bias and structural and institutional racism.

Program Goals:

The goals of Preliminary Protective Hearing Benchcard are:

  • Reduce racial disproportionality and disparate treatment.
  • Safely decrease foster care placement rates.
  • Increase relative placement rates.

Essential Components

The essential components of Preliminary Protective Hearing Benchcard include:

  • Training for judges and stakeholders on implicit bias, structural and institutional racism
  • Training on PPHBenchcard implementation
  • Baseline data collection on racial disproportionality, placement rates, and types of initial hearings
  • Full implementation of the PPH Benchcard at initial hearings
  • Post-implementation data collection and reporting
  • Parents actively engaged in removal hearings; aim to have more children placed with parents

Delivery Setting

This program is typically conducted in a(n):

  • Courtroom

Homework

This program does not include a homework component.

Languages

Preliminary Protective Hearing Benchcard (PPH Benchcard) does not have materials available in a language other than English.

Resources Needed to Run Program

The typical resources for implementing the program are:

Adequate judicial resources, effective legal representation of parents and children, and adequate hearing time

Minimum Provider Qualifications

Juvenile court judges and judicial officers that are legally trained.

Education and Training Resources

There is a manual that describes how to implement this program, and there is training available for this program.

Training Contact:
  • Melissa Bahmer, Director
    National Council of Juvenile and Family Court Judges
    phone: (775) 784-7709
Training is obtained:

On-site, regional, and statewide

Number of days/hours:

8 hours

Additional Resources:

There currently are additional qualified resources for training:

Khatib Waheed, National Council of Juvenile and Family Court Judges Consultant

Rita Cameron-Wedding, Sacramento State University

Shawn Marsh, National Council of Juvenile and Family Court Judges

Nancy Miller, National Council of Juvenile and Family Court Judges

Implementation Information

Since Preliminary Protective Hearing Benchcard (PPH Benchcard) is rated on the Scientific Rating Scale, information was requested from the program representative on available pre-implementation assessments, implementation tools, and/or fidelity measures.

Show implementation information...

Pre-Implementation Materials

There are no pre-implementation materials to measure organizational or provider readiness for Preliminary Protective Hearing Benchcard (PPH Benchcard).

Formal Support for Implementation

There is no formal support available for implementation of Preliminary Protective Hearing Benchcard (PPH Benchcard).

Fidelity Measures

There are fidelity measures for Preliminary Protective Hearing Benchcard (PPH Benchcard) as listed below:

A court observation tool, modified from the standardized court observation tool typically used in court, is available. The PPH Benchcard was designed to increase discussion, judicial inquiry, and judicial engagement of parents. The tool captures the breadth and depth of discussion of a set of topic areas (from the PPH Benchcard), identifies whether the judge inquired specifically about each item, and includes a 5-item judicial engagement of parents section, with a series of yes/no questions. For example, "Did the judge ask if the parent had any questions?" (this item was one of the three direct questions to parents that judges should ask per the PPH Benchcard).

Implementation Guides or Manuals

There are implementation guides or manuals for Preliminary Protective Hearing Benchcard (PPH Benchcard) as listed below:

There is a technical assistance bulletin that accompanies the PPH Benchcard that describes its importance and recommendations for implementation. It can be found at http://www.ncjfcj.org/resource-library/publications/right-start-courts-catalyzing-change-preliminary-protective-hearing-0

Research on How to Implement the Program

Research has not been conducted on how to implement Preliminary Protective Hearing Benchcard (PPH Benchcard).

Relevant Published, Peer-Reviewed Research

This program is rated a "3 - Promising Research Evidence" on the Scientific Rating Scale based on the published, peer-reviewed research available. The practice must have at least one study utilizing some form of control (e.g., untreated group, placebo group, matched wait list study) establishing the practice's benefit over the placebo, or found it to be comparable to or better than an appropriate comparison practice. Please see the Scientific Rating Scale for more information.

Child Welfare Outcome: Permanency

Show relevant research...

Russell, J., & Summers, A. (2013). An overview of the Courts Catalyzing Change Preliminary Protective Hearing Benchcard study. Juvenile and Family Court Journal, 64 (2), 1-16.

Type of Study: One group pretest-posttest design and randomized controlled study
Number of Participants: 555

Population:

  • Age — Target child: 3-18 years
  • Race/Ethnicity — Control Group: 35% White, 29% Hispanic, 22% African American, 3% Asian/Pacific Islander, 4% Other, & 7% Unable to Determine; Benchcard Group: 35% White, 29% Hispanic, 24% African American, 2% Native American, 1% Asian/Pacific Islander
  • Gender — Target child: Control Group - 54% Female, 41% Male, & 5% Unable to Determine; Benchcard Group - 54% Female, 39% Male, & 7% Unable to Determine
  • Status — Participants were children in foster care or the child welfare system who whose case was seen by a dependency court judge.

Location/Institution: Los Angeles, California; Omaha, Nebraska; & Portland, Oregon.

Summary: (To include comparison groups, outcomes, measures, notable limitations)
This study examined the use of the Preliminary Protective Hearing Benchcard (PPH Benchcard) using a standardized hearing observation instrument. Data from a baseline sample were collected at each of the three sites, and judicial officers at each site were randomly assigned to either a PPH Benchcard group or a control group. Results indicated PPH Benchcard implementation appears to be associated with substantially higher quantities and quality of discussion of key dependency topics during preliminary protective hearings. PPH Benchcard implementation also corresponds to increased judicial inquiry and parent engagement. Results also indicated that PPH Benchcard use was associated with more family placements—placement with a charged parent, a non-charged parent, or a relative—at the initial hearing and even more at adjudication when comparing the same judges before and after PPH Benchcard implementation. Similarly, the percentage of children who were reunified with the charged parent at the initial hearing and the adjudication hearing increased after PPH Benchcard implementation. Limitations include possible spill-over effect and observation bias.

Length of postintervention follow-up: Not specified.

Russell, J., & Summers, A. (2013). Reflective decision-making and foster care placements. Psychology, Public Policy, and Law, 19 (2), 127.

Type of Study: One group pretest-posttest design and randomized controlled study
Number of Participants: 555

Population:

  • Age — About 6 years
  • Race/Ethnicity — Baseline: 40% Caucasian, 26% African American, 25% Hispanic/Latino, & 9% Other; Benchcard Follow-up: 32% Caucasian, 18% African American, 36% Hispanic/Latino, & 14% Other; Follow-up Control: 20% Caucasian, 21% African American, 34% Hispanic/Latino, &
  • Gender — Baseline: 57% Female; Benchcard Follow-up: 59% Female; & Follow-up Control - 58% Female
  • Status — Participants were children in foster care or the child welfare system whose case was seen by a dependency judge.

Location/Institution: Los Angeles, California; Omaha, Nebraska; & Portland, Oregon

Summary: (To include comparison groups, outcomes, measures, notable limitations)
This study utilized information from a previous study (Russell, J., & Summers, A. [2012]) and examined the impact of two interventions on placement decisions. After baseline data collection, all participants received the implicit bias and institutional racism training intervention, with half of the participants subsequently assigned randomly to receive the PPH Benchcard intervention. Data was collected through case file review. Results indicated the training intervention was associated with more parent placements and fewer non-relative foster care placements. However, this change appeared to diminish over time when it was not coupled with use of the PPH Benchcard. The training and PPH Benchcard together were also associated with improvement in placement outcomes, and this effect did not appear to diminish over time. Limitations included sample size, possible spillover effects, and generalizability to other court locations.

Length of postintervention follow-up: Not specified.

References

No reference materials are currently available for Preliminary Protective Hearing Benchcard (PPH Benchcard).

Contact Information

Name: Margo Weaver
Agency/Affiliation: National Council of Juvenile and Family Court Judges
Website: www.ncjfcj.org/resource-library/publications/right-start-courts-catalyzing-change-preliminary-protective-hearing-0
Email:
Phone: (775) 327-5301

Date Research Evidence Last Reviewed by CEBC: November 2016

Date Program Content Last Reviewed by Program Staff: March 2016

Date Program Originally Loaded onto CEBC: April 2013