Triage / Differentiated Case Management

In family cases, courts around the country are exploring ways in which to tailor the pretrial process to the needs of families, and to better match families with appropriate services. Courts are going about this in a variety of ways, including using triage and differentiated case management programs. The ultimate goal behind these efforts is to maximize diminishing court resources and ensure effective delivery of court and court-connected services.

Connecticut Judicial Branch Family Civil Intake Screen

The Connecticut Judicial Branch-CSSD Family Services Unit, in collaboration with the Association of Family and Conciliation Courts, developed a research-based screening instrument. The Family Civil Intake Screen is designed to match families with the service most appropriate in their case.

Iowa Family Law Task Force Recommendations

The Iowa Supreme Court Family Law Case Processing Reform Task Force issued a report to the Iowa Supreme Court that contains various recommendations concerning family law case processing in Iowa. One of the areas that the report identified for further study is the issue of multiple case processing tracks. The Task Force notes: “The cost of processing a family law case has skyrocketed in the last decade, in part because of mandated processes and procedures that are appropriate for some, but not all, cases.” “A simplified process and procedure for less complex cases,” suggests the Task Force, “would allow Iowans a process that supports faster and more cost-efficient access to the courts.” The full report contains a host of recommendations for just, efficient, and consistent procedures for Iowans, as well as suggestions for further consideration or research.

National Center for State Courts Triage Tool

The National Center for State Courts has developed a divorce case screening tool for state courts interested in pursuing mechanisms to better link available resources to the families who need them most. The screening tool is primarily focused on early identification of uncontested divorce cases. It is designed to be sufficiently flexible to be readily adapted to fit a court’s specific jurisdiction.