About CFCC

The University of Baltimore School of Law Sayra and Neil Meyerhoff Center for Families, Children and the Courts (CFCC) is a national leader in the movement to reform the family justice system. CFCC works to integrate communities, families and the justice system to improve the lives of families and the health of communities. CFCC aims to solve real-world problems with lasting solutions based on appropriate legal theory and doctrine.  CFCC is a leader in developing and implementing lasting family justice system reform throughout Maryland and the United States. CFCC provides educational programs, technical assistance, evaluations and training to jurisdictions, judges, attorneys, court personnel and community leaders.

CFCC approaches court reform from two key perspectives:

  •  Therapeutic jurisprudence - the theory that families and children deserve a fair and efficient forum to resolve family legal matters in a problem-solving manner, with the goal of improving the lives of families and children in court.
  • The ecology of human development - a holistic approach that capitalizes on the interrelationships among families, children, schools, faith-based institutions, places of employment, and other community organizations. 

CFCC works to create, implement, improve and evaluate Unified Family Courts (UFCs).   The core principle of the UFC model is that all cases arising out of a family’s problems are consolidated in a single court.  This model addresses equally the legal issues in family law cases, such as divorce, custody, child support and domestic violence, and the non-legal issues, such as substance abuse, mental health problems and poverty.  

One example of the real-world application of therapeutic jurisprudence and the ecology of human development to CFCC’s work is the Truancy Court Program, in which an interdisciplinary team including a volunteer judge, CFCC staff, University of Baltimore law students, school administrators, and teachers work with the student and parent/caregiver to discover the issues underlying truancy and to create positive, holistic, and lasting change for children.