Dependency courts and science

Victoria Weisz

Research output: Chapter in Book/Report/Conference proceedingChapter


The stakes in dependency courts are very high and concern the welfare of highly vulnerable children and the fundamental rights of both children and parents. Nonetheless, there is a paucity of social and behavioral science research that can inform judges, attorneys, and policy makers in their efforts to achieve the goals of child safety, permanency, and well-being while ensuring due process for children and parents. This chapter discusses two earlier chapters of this volume about the work of dependency courts that illustrate the ways through which dependency courts are beginning to use social/behavioral science. Researchers are beginning to assist courts in empirically testing the effectiveness of various consensus developed best practices court practices and procedures. Similarly, judges are beginning to question the validity of assessments and the effectiveness of services that they utilize to inform their decisions and mandates regarding the families under their jurisdiction. The chapter discusses challenges and recommendations for courts and social-behavioral scientists working together to build a fair, effective, and efficient dependency. court system with court referred services that have a sound scientific basis.

Original languageEnglish (US)
Title of host publicationProblem Solving Courts
Subtitle of host publicationSocial Science and Legal Perspectives
PublisherSpringer New York
Number of pages8
ISBN (Electronic)9781461474036
ISBN (Print)1461474027, 9781461474029
StatePublished - Mar 1 2013


  • Child abuse/neglect
  • Child maltreatment
  • Court process
  • Courts
  • Dependency court
  • Evidence-based practice

ASJC Scopus subject areas

  • General Psychology
  • General Social Sciences


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