Virginia's Judicial System

Court Improvement Program


The Virginia Court Improvement Program (CIP) works in the area of juvenile and family law to integrate best practices into the policy and routines of the court system. CIP focuses on improving the ability of the court system to manage and resolve cases involving children who are abused or neglected or are in foster care. CIP supports courts to timely and effectively resolve these cases and to ensure compliance with federal and state laws and standards. CIP staff members participate on state multidisciplinary committees and in initiatives to address the needs of children and families. The Court Improvement Program also implements standards promulgated by the Judicial Council of Virginia governing lawyers who serve as guardians ad litem for children and for incapacitated persons under Title 64.2.

The Court Improvement Program:

  • Promotes the continuous quality improvement of court proceedings in child welfare cases.
  • Enhances and expands collaboration among the courts, court community, and local departments of social services to improve child welfare outcomes. CIP and the Virginia Department of Social Services collaborate to identify and work toward shared goals and activities to increase the safety, permanency, and well-being of children in the child welfare system.
  • Participates in all stages of child welfare program planning and improvement efforts, including the Child and Family Service Plan/Annual Progress and Services Report, Child and Family Services Review, and Title IV-E foster care eligibility review processes within required timeframes.
  • Increases child welfare expertise within the legal community and facilitates multi-disciplinary training opportunities among local departments of social services, juvenile and domestic relations district courts, and other key stakeholders.
  • Promotes the collection, generation, and analysis of child abuse, neglect, and foster care case data and encourages data sharing between the courts and local child welfare agencies, as authorized by law.
  • Provides research and analysis of child and family law and policy within the court system.
  • Examines legislative proposals concerning juvenile and family law to identify and resolve implementation issues on behalf of the courts.
  • Responds to legislative studies directed to the court system on issues concerning children and families.
  • Supports local efforts to improve permanency planning for children through the integration of best practices into the policy and daily routines of the court, collaboration, and trainings.

Contact Information

  • Director - Sandra L. Karison
    Phone - (804) 786-6455


Resources and Reference Materials