The Cady Initiative for Family Justice Reform


COVID-19 Resources

Resources have been created to assist courts in dealing with administering family justice during the COVID-19 pandemic.

One of our greatest leaders in the courts, and the chair of CCJ/COSCA's FJI effort, Iowa Chief Justice Mark Cady, addressed a national audience regarding child and family cases in September 2019 saying “We need to be able to say that we did everything that we could when it was our time.” Chief Justice Cady passed away unexpectedly, just two months later. His efforts to support fairness, his dedication to children and families and his leadership within the courts will not be forgotten. In honor of Chief Justice Cady and in honor of children and families, the CCJ/COSCA Family Justice Initiative commits to do what we can in our time.

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At the CCJ/COSCA 2020 Annual Meeting, the Conference of Chief Justices and the Conference of State Court Administrators endorsed and encouraged their members to implement the following recommendations:

Access CCJ/COSCA Resolution 4 In Support of a Call to Action to Redesign Justice Processes for Families, here.

1. Ensure that family law matters receive the same level of prestige and respect as other court matters by providing them with appropriate recognition, training, funding, and strong leadership

2. Aggressively triage cases at the earliest opportunity

3. Simplify court procedures so that self-represented parties know what to expect, understand how to navigate the process, can meaningfully engage in the justice system, and are treated fairly

4. Ensure that self-help information and services are available both in person and remotely so that all litigants can access the full range of court self-help in the manner that is most appropriate for their needs

5. Offer families a choice of dispute resolution options to promote problem-solving and to minimize the negative effects that the adversarial process has on families during the court process and afterwards

6. Promote the well-being of families, including implementation of trauma-responsive practices for families and staff, throughout the life of their case and as the primary desired case outcome

How sites are implementing the Cady Principles

Outline of how the pilot sites are pulling from the Cady Initiative Principles and some or their lessons learned on the importance of the culture of the family court; structured decision; supporting parties, training, coaching, and mentoring judges court staff, and legal partners; and data collection, evaluation, and technology innovation.

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The Cady Initiative is supported by a generous grant from the State Justice Institute (SJI-19-P-021). The views expressed in this report are those of the authors and do not necessarily represent those of the State Justice Institute, the FJI Task Force, IAALS, NCJFCJ, or the National Center for State Courts.

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