I always review this report from the National Center for State Courts, and the 2009 version just came out and is up on their website. (Before you click on the 2009 version link, know it is a big document to download.) This year I was particularly looking forward to seeing the article that Tina Amberboy and I wrote, about the Permanent Judicial Commission for Children Youth & Families (pp. 110-113). Very timely as Texas and the Commission will soon host the Third National Judicial Leadership Summit for the Protection of Children, a convening of judicial and executive branch leadership from around the country, building collaboration to improve outcomes in the child welfare system. There are several other articles on improving child welfare, including one on data exchanges (pp. 97-102) that notes our work on the Texas Data-Enabled Courts for Kids project.
One theme in the 2009 Trends issue is court operations in a tight economy, which will be of interest to Texas readers going into the next legislative session, where we are told budgets will be tight. Under that heading, and because of our workgroup on pro se litigants, I would highlight "Access to Justice: Economic Crisis Challenges, Impacts, and Responses" (pp. 9-12), and "Redesigning for the Customer: Self-Service Sites Can Help the Courts and the Public in a Tight Economy" (pp. 45-49). Other items of interest to me or my office:
-"The Future of Court-Oriented Decision Making Assistance: Perspectives from the Washington State Office of Public Guardianship" (p. 65-68), of interest to our Guardianship Certification Board.
-"Oregon ECourt - Improving Judicial Outcomes and Services" (pp. 87-91), of interest to our Judicial Committee on Information Technology as a strategic vision of transformation of the business operations of state courts through creation of a statewide electronic court.
-Two articles on drug courts, a favorite topic about which I should blog more sometime (pp. 92-96 and 134-139).
Going back to that first link, note that the National Center for State Courts (finally) has their new website up and running, with a new URL (ncsc.org instead of ncsconline.org). I haven't had a chance to prowl around a lot, but it looks very good and I encourage court devotees to check it out thoroughly.