Family Justice System Reform


To view a sampling of our work to improve family justice system, just scroll the image above to download key reports. For additional detail, visit CFCC’s website.

Uplifting the Family Justice System

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. We view the creation of unified family courts as the most successful court structure and operational model to resolve family conflicts in a therapeutic, ecological and service-based manner. CFCC offers a range of services to courts and jurisdictions seeking to create, implement, improve and evaluate unified family courts.

A unified family court is a single court system with comprehensive subject-matter jurisdiction over all cases involving children and families, meaning the court has the power to hear and coordinate cases such as divorce, custody, child support, marital property, alimony, adoption, paternity, domestic violence, child abuse and neglect, and juvenile delinquency, among others. This structural and operational court models offers the best opportunities to produce resolutions tailored to an individual family’s legal, personal, emotional and social needs.

CFCC provides in-depth consultation and hands-on assistance to state and local courts interested to implement a unified family court. A body of extensive written advocacy for unified family courts underpins CFCC’s work.

Professor Barbara Babb and CFCC staff have played an instrumental role in transforming family justice in Maryland, helping to create and launch the Family Divisions and authoring Performance Standards and Measures for Maryland’s Family Divisions (Maryland Judiciary, 2002, with Jeffrey Kuhn). In addition, CFCC has provided services to jurisdictions in California, District of Columbia, Florida, Indiana, Louisiana, Maryland, Michigan, Nebraska, New Mexico, Ohio, Ontario, Pennsylvania, Tennessee and Utah, among others.

CFCC’s work also has reached across oceans. Professor Babb is a member of the Singapore Family Justice Courts’ Advisory and Research Council on Therapeutic Justice (ARC), created in June 2020. She was appointed in June by Justice Debbie Ong, presiding judge of the Singapore Family Justice Courts (FJC).

The ARC will work with the Singapore Family Justice Courts to incorporate TJ as the overarching framework of the Singapore family justice system, a concept Babb originally applied to family court reform and about which she has written and spoken for decades. Babb says the ARC’s work will include examining court processes through a TJ lens and, where appropriate, improving those processes.

“The ARC appointment is quite a privilege, and it is extremely exciting for me,” says Babb, “as it encompasses all of my advocacy and scholarship since I joined the UB faculty in 1989. I am extremely honored to work with the Singapore FJC community and the other ARC members.”