Thursday, July 10, 2008

Texas Judicial Commission Adopts Functional Model

In a press release: On June 27, 2008, The Supreme Court of Texas Judicial Commission for Children, Youth and Families formally adopted a functional requirements reference model to address the special case management needs of courts handling child protection dependency cases. The reference model consists of a number of web pages presented in an interactive format, providing overviews of the court process, timelines, a feature to allow deep drilldown into the particulars of each subprocess, and detailed descriptions of the data requirements.

Culminating nearly two years of work, the functional requirements reference model was developed to provide developers of court case management software an authoritative set of requirements for the creation of specialized modules of court software systems. The Office of Court Administration, headed by Carl Reynolds, undertook the project in 2005 after receiving Court Improvement Program grant funding, which was given to the Supreme Court of Texas by the U.S. Department of Health and Human Services Administration for Children and Families.

In Texas and most other states, child protection cases must follow tightly controlled timelines. The cases may have multiple participants, with the judge acting in a problemsolving role. The reference model may be the most comprehensive description ever created to address the special needs of courts handling child abuse and neglect cases. Judges, clerks, attorneys, and other stakeholders from around Texas worked closely with technologists to identify almost all aspects of child protection case management. This is not a system, but a set of blueprints that will enable any software developer to understand the unique court process utilized in this type of case to write the software, said Reynolds.

The Supreme Court Permanent Judicial Commission for Children, Youth and Families is chaired by Justice Harriet OrsquoNeill of the Supreme Court of Texas. Judge Darlene Byrne of Travis County chaired the Technology Committee, which oversaw the development of the functional requirements reference model. It is available on the Commission website, at: .

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