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Washington State Institute for Public Policy
March 2004
The 2001 Washington State Legislature directed the Institute to investigate how reductions in court delays may influence foster care costs. In the courts, child dependency cases range in duration from a single day to five years or more. Over the course of a case, children may be placed in multiple, temporary settings. Logic suggests that the longer a dependency is open in the court, the more time children will spend in state-paid foster care. Court continuances (the postponement of hearings or trials) could be expected to extend the life of a court case, and hence, the time a child spends in foster care. This study examines how court continuances in dependency cases affect the time children spend in state foster care, and also examines the effects of continuances on the length of dependency and termination cases.
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Madeline Barch
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