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Accessing Foster Kids Through Judges

Posted on July 29, 2009

Partner with mental health or child welfare professionals when seeing a judge, advises John Landsverk (bio).


Working with judges is kind of unique because they all have their, they're all unique. There's usually, like in San Diego, there's one judge that has like a three-year term for being the head of juvenile court. And so that's the person that you deal with.

Now, currently, there's a judge in that that is terribly interested in the mental health of children. So she's been very easy to work with, and she's very interested in what we're doing, and that sort of thing. But we've had very good success, but judges of, judges rule. They're in charge, and you don't genuflect, but you really have to, they clearly are in charge, and you don't argue with judges, and you work it out.

I would go with my partner from child welfare. I would go with people that know the judge. And I've never gone to see a judge on my own. I always go with a partner from, a person in high enough management in either mental health or child welfare that the judge says, "Oh, hi, Shirley." There was a person that was in charge of outpatients of mental health services, and she knew the judges. That was her business, and so Shirley and I went together. That's how I would do it. I would never go by myself.

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Excerpted from interview with researcher at the 2009 CHIPS Summer Research Institute in Tempe, AZ.


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