In response to a dramatic increase in child abuse and neglect cases and the expanded role of the courts in achieving stable, permanent homes for children in foster care, Congress created the Court Improvement Program (CIP) in 1993.
The Court Improvement Program aims to improve court practice in child abuse and neglect cases so that the three goals of safety, permanence, and well-being for each child are achieved in a fair and timely manner. (Well-being is defined by the Adoption and Safe Families Act of 1997 as factors that relate to a child’s current and future welfare, most notably the child’s educational achievement and mental and physical health.)
The program is federally funded by the Children’s Bureau of the U.S. Department of Health and Human Services’ Administration for Children, Youth, and Families Division. The CIP is the federal government’s attempt to understand what works best in the court arena. The Children’s Bureau supports courts in their efforts to ensure secure, permanent homes for children in foster care and to improve their effectiveness in achieving permanency.
CIP, formerly called CAP in Montana, receives funding from the Children’s Bureau to use for a variety of purposes relating to improving the dependency court system.