Professor Barbara Babb , CFCC’s founder and director, is an internationally recognized expert in family justice system reform. She received the 2015 Stanley Cohen Distinguished Research Award from the Association of Family and Conciliation Courts (AFCC), based on her long career of scholarship and activism to improve family courts and family law. Babb is Editor-in-Chief of AFCC's quarterly journal, Family Court Review, the leading interdisciplinary academic and research journal for family law professionals worldwide.
The Sayra and Neil Meyerhoff Center for Families, Children and the Courts (CFCC) is a national leader in promoting and refining the unified family court model in an effort to mitigate the harms of the traditional family justice system. CFCC offers a range of services to courts and jurisdictions seeking to create, implement, improve and evaluate unified family courts.
In addition, CFCC occasionally submits written and oral testimony to the Maryland Legislature on important issues related to its work on such issues as truancy intervention, school discipline and family justice issues.
Court Consultations and Evaluations
CFCC works with jurisdictions across the country and around the world to develop standards, implement procedures and evaluate the performance of unified family courts, problem-solving or specialty courts and attorney practices. In its widely distributed report, Performance Standards and Measures for Maryland’s Family Divisions, CFCC underscores the need for a judicial environment in which judges, court staff and attorneys address family legal problems in a fair and problem-solving forum. Maryland’s Family Divisions continue to evaluate their operations and proposed improvements based on these foundational standards, which are the leading family court performance standards in the country.
CFCC offers on-site evaluations of programs that deliver legal and social services to families and children involved in family law proceedings. Evaluations include outcome and performance measures; the collection and analysis of case data, survey instruments and other documentation; and written evaluations and recommendations for future implementation or expansion of family court efforts.
CFCC also identifies best court practices for children and families. These include recommendations for improvements in case management activities, case tracking and information sharing and modifications about how to handle complex family law matters to provide more timely and effective services to high-conflict families.
For jurisdictions engaged in family court reform, CFCC facilitates interviews, focus groups and retreats. These activities can identify a court system’s strengths and weaknesses and collaboratively can develop short-term improvements and long-term plans to implement and improve services to families and children. They also can create a culture rooted in therapeutic jurisprudence and an understanding of the ecology of human development, or a holistic approach to family legal matters.
Research and Analysis
CFCC conducts comprehensive surveys, literature reviews, data collection and analyses, reports and presentations to make our extensive research accessible to jurisdictions nationally and around the world. For example, in A Strong Presence in the Life of a Child: A Report on Unified Family Courts and Juvenile Delinquency Matters, funded by the Charles Crane Family Foundation, CFCC has surveyed family court judges and staff in Delaware, Hawaii, Indiana, New Jersey and Rhode Island to develop recommendations to merge juvenile delinquency issues into the family court’s jurisdiction. Access CFCC’s publications and reports on our Publications & Resources page.
Trainings and Presentations
CFCC develops highly tailored workshops, conferences and symposia, in addition to training University of Baltimore law students through the CFCC Student Fellows Program and providing professional development for attorneys through the Post-J.D. Certificate in Family Law. Our team assesses needs, defines the agenda, identifies expert speakers and ensures effective format and delivery. CFCC has developed dozens of educational training programs for judges, magistrates, court staff, services providers and attorneys on topics such as representing abused and neglected children and the impact of substance use disorders on families and children.