Time to Adjudication
Definition: Average time from filing of the original petition
Purpose: Timeliness. The desired outcome is the expedition
of permanency by minimizing the time from the filing of the
petition to adjudication.
Courts generally are most familiar with timeliness measures.
These measures provide courts with tools to assist them in
pinpointing areas where they are doing well and areas where
improvement is needed. This measure focuses on the timeliness
of the adjudication.
The adjudicatory hearing is important because at this hearing
the court decides whether the allegations in a petition are
admitted or proved, and, if so, are legally sufficient to support
state intervention on behalf of the child.
Method: Select all cases adjudicated within the study time
frame, e.g. the past year. Compute the number of days from
filing of the original petition to the date of adjudication
for each case in the sample. Determine the time to adjudication
for the median case and compute an average (mean) as well.
If the jurisdiction records an adjudication for each parent
separately, the date of the first adjudication is used.
Analysis and Interpretation:
NCJFCJ Resource Guidelines recommend adjudicatory hearings
be completed within 60 days after the child has been removed
from the home, regardless of whether the parties agree to extensions.
Data Elements: Case number or child identifier,
Date original petition was filed
Date of adjudication.
In situations where the petition is not filed within 48 hours
of removal, the jurisdiction should consider using removal
date or shelter care hearing data to adjudication as a substitute