With SJI support, the National Council for Juvenile and Family Court Judges (NCJFCJ) recently published a report from its first-ever National Summit on Courts and Military. Convened in March 2015 at Fort Benning in Columbus, Georgia, the goal of the Summit was to create the groundwork for a collaborative relationship between the courts and the many military institutions, civilian agencies, and government departments that assist military families when they access the state courts.
The Summit represented years of planning efforts culminating in the engaged presence of nearly 100 individuals representing all branches of government and the military, specifically including:
- state court judicial leaders from across the country;
- armed forces personnel including former commanding officers;
- federal executive departments of Office of the Secretary of Defense and Veterans Affairs;
- federal and state legislators;
- various service organizations for military families, together with academic, research, and policy groups interested in the welfare of the military family.
The summit report covers the following considerations:
- Education and training in a more comprehensive, consistent, and widespread manner than currently exists.
- Resources and services for military-connected families.
- Judicial and Command collaboration.
- Judicial and Command [co-] leadership.
- Assessing the needs and risks of the military-connected family members.
The NCJFCJ also outlined eight specific ways in which it could leverage national support of military families and courts, based on shared insights from participants, some of which included: increasing membership on its Military Issues Committee; keeping participants connected and engaged in the discussion virtually; fostering support for local and state-level court and command collaborative; and development of training curricula for key stakeholders within the collaborative. With ongoing information sharing and a demand for more resources to move the discussion forward, the NCJFCJ maintains an active Military Families portal on their website.
The full 10-page final report is available from the NCJFCJ.