Time to Dispositi
Definition: Average time from filing of the original petition
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
The disposition is important because this is the hearing
court in which the court decides whether the child welfare
agency or another party is given custody of the child for an
extended period of time, such as the time of the next review
or permanency hearing. NCJFCJ Resource Guidelines suggest that
the disposition should be a separate proceeding from adjudication
to ensure focus on the future of the child.
Method: Select all cases disposed 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 disposition for each
case in the sample. Determine the time to disposition for the
median case and compute an average (mean) as well.
Analysis and Interpretation:
NCJFCJ Resource Guidelines recommend dispositional hearings
be completed within 30 days of adjudication, except where extension
of time are required for good cause, such as newly discovered
evidence, unavoidable delays in obtaining critical witnesses,
and unforeseen personal emergencies.
Data Elements: Case number or child identifier,
Date original petition was filed
Date of disposition.
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