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Court Improvement Project

Proyecto de mejoramiento de los tribunales

The New Mexico Court Improvement Project (CIP)


Three cartoon people holidng a scale

Our Mission

“To improve the safety, permanency, and well-being of children and families in NM Children’s Court by developing innovative initiatives through court, agency, and stakeholder collaboration.”


The State Court Improvement Program (CIP) was created as part of the Omnibus Budget Reconciliation Act (OBRA) of 1993. The Act provides Federal funds to State child welfare agencies and Tribes for preventive services and services to families at risk or in crisis. Funds are also provided to enhance the court's role in achieving stable, permanent homes for children in foster care. Since 1995, the New Mexico Supreme Court has received a grant from the Children's Bureau to accomplish this purpose.

The direction of the CIP nationally and in New Mexico is to adopt a Continuous Quality Improvement (CQI) approach, focusing on measurable outcomes and models to develop effective innovations and interventions.

Our strategic plan calls for improving outcomes for children and families through:

  • updating court procedures
  • educational outcomes through data sharing
  • improved representation
  • increasing the knowledge, skill and ability of the child welfare and juvenile justice communities

Child Custody

Some of the accomplishments of the CIP are:

  • Implementation of expedited time frames in abuse & neglect proceedings in the Children’s Code
  • Implementation of Permanency Hearings and mandatory pre-adjudicatory and pre-permanency hearing meetings
  • Development and implementation of Mediation services in Abuse and Neglect Cases
  • Development and support of the Kinship Guardianship Act
  • Establishment of the Corinne Wolfe Children’s Law Center
  • Extensive training and cross-training on multiple topics through the Children’s Law Center
  • Assignment of Youth Attorneys for youth 14 years and older
  • Development of model contracts and Supreme Court promulgated performance standards for court-appointed attorneys
  • Establishment of the Tribal-State Judicial Consortium
  • Collaboration on Preserving Connections, Open Adoptions, and other cross-agency initiatives
  • Management and facilitation of Annual Children’s Law Institute conferences
  • Development of measures of timeliness of court hearings

Juvenile Justice

You can learn more about the New Mexico CIP by browsing this website.  CIP writes and publishes a number of Best Practice Bulletins and Information Booklets for youth, foster parents, biological parents, judges, attorneys, social workers, clinicians, child advocates and others who work with children and families.  These can be found in the Resources tab within this website.

There are many opportunities to participate in workgroups and other activities that have been established to carry out CIP initiatives. If you would like more information about CIP or would like to join one of the workgroups, please contact Sarah Jacobs at aocsej@nmcourts.gov.