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New Bench Card Addresses Bias in Juvenile and Family Courts

The National Council of Juvenile and Family Court Judges (NCJFCJ) and the National Juvenile Defender Center (NJDC), with support from the SJI, released the fifth in a series of bench cards, titled, Addressing Bias in Delinquency and Child Welfare Systems.  This bench card emphasizes eliminating racial and ethnic disparities in juvenile and family courts as critical to creating a fair and equitable system of justice for all youth.

Youth of color are disproportionately represented at every decision point of the juvenile delinquency court process: they face higher arrest rates for similar conduct, are afforded fewer opportunities for diversion, and are far more likely to be detained and incarcerated.  Youth of color and their families face similar disparities in the child welfare system, and when youth are dually-involved in the delinquency and child welfare systems, these disparities are exacerbated.

This new bench card: 1) educates juvenile and family court judges about explicit and implicit bias; 2) provides judges with self-reflection tools to help them recognize and prevent bias in their courtroom; and 3) offers concrete strategies to correct implicit bias.

The full series bench cards are available online: