The Center for Court Innovation (the Center) seeks to help create a more effective and humane justice system by designing and implementing operating programs, performing original research, and providing reformers around the world with the tools they need to launch new strategies. The Center stands at the crossroads of action and reflection, doing and thinking. The Center’s work is to dream up new ideas and then go out and test them in the real world. The Center’s focus is divided into three main types of work: operating programs, expert assistance and research. To learn more about the Center please visit our website: courtinnovation.org.
Children and adolescents are among the most vulnerable members of our society, experiencing and witnessing violence, abuse, and other crimes, including domestic violence, sexual abuse and sexual assault, community violence, homicides, physical assault and abuse, and commercial sexual exploitation, at alarming rates1. Many children do not report abuse, but those who do frequently face a terrifying experience. Too often, justice and child welfare systems are not responsive to the particular needs of children and adolescents and are not able to adequately support them. The Office for Victims of Crime’s Vision 21: Transforming Victim Services report imagines a criminal justice system in which all victims feel empowered and are well-informed, able to make truly informed decisions about their participation, and treated with compassion and respect.
The Center for Court Innovation’s Child Witness Materials Development Project, funded by a grant from the Office for Victims of Crime, is creating a package of interactive support materials for children, teens, their caregivers and the justice system practitioners who work with them, including law enforcement, prosecutors, victim advocates, child welfare workers, and mental health professionals. Project partners seek a specialized website that will house and display the materials for access online and/or quick download. The website will enable a client or provider to filter to the specific version of the materials that meets their needs with regards to age, developmental stage, language, and legal setting. The website may also offer a curated collection of child witness support materials from other sources that complement those developed for this project, as well as information about relevant training opportunities, technical assistance resources, and research.
There will be six sets of materials. Two sets of materials will be created for Criminal and Family Court and customized for three different age groups for each: 2-6, 7-12, and 13-18. There will also be accompanying caregiver guides for the younger children. The materials will teach children and their caregivers about the court process and potential paths/outcomes their case may take, the roles of the practitioners involved in each system, their rights as a victim or a witness, ideas/tools for coping with the emotional stress, as well as testifying tips for those who testify. These materials will empower children and their caregivers to have a better understanding of the complicated justice systems with which they are involved.
1) Encourage children to seek out opportunities for choice and decision-making, combatting feelings of helplessness characteristic of both trauma and system involvement;
2) Empower children and caregivers with the information needed to make informed decisions about their participation in the justice system, advocate for themselves, and serve as effective witnesses;
3) Normalize and validate children’s emotions, concerns, and experiences, leaving children feeling less alone and more understood;
4) Teach children and caregivers developmentally-appropriate skills for managing emotional distress that arises during the legal process;
5) Standardize support provided to child victims and witnesses, making it higher quality, consistent across providers and agencies, and easier to determine its effectiveness.
Scope of Work:
The Center’s Child Witness Materials Development Project seeks proposals from vendors for a website that will meet the criteria presented below.
● The site will primarily provide a user-friendly interface for people to easily find and download the material they are looking for, share information about the project and sponsors, and contact us. The site will not need the ability for payment since all material is free.
● The site will feature robust filtering capability so that users can find materials best-suited to them based on the following criteria: age/developmental stage, language, and legal setting. There are approximately 84 files.
● The site can be easily managed to update content and files, specifically for non-technical staff
● Define and implement website and user experience best practices;
● Ensure the website is cross-browser and standards compliant and meets accessibility/disability requirements;
● Implement a responsive site, which renders well on all size screens and types;
● The site will be SEO friendly;
● The design of the site will incorporate drawings from the materials and will show the CCI and OVC logos while moderately matching CCI branding in color scheme and font.
● The site will include contact forms for general inquiries/questions/comments as well as for large orders;
● Ability to track visitors, time on site, views, and downloads per resource – Google Analytics will be sufficient as long as it has been set-up to track downloads
● The platform can be an existing CMS or a custom system and the response to this RFP should explain the benefits of the choice;
● The site will comply with federal security and other standards.
○ Post-launch, the vendor will have the resources to support and troubleshoot minimal technical issues as they arise. The post-launch support will be a separate contract, but the organization must have the capacity to do this work.