The Family Court Enhancement Project (FCEP) is a demonstration initiative funded by the Department of Justice, Office on Violence Against Women. The project was designed to build the capacity of the four FCEP sites’ court systems to improve custody decision-making in the context of domestic violence. The four court sites are located in Cook County, Illinois (Chicago), the State of Delaware (all three counties), Hennepin County, Minnesota (Minneapolis), and Multnomah County, Oregon (Portland).

The National Council of Juvenile and Family Court Judges (NCJFCJ) is responsible for coordinating technical assistance (TA) provision to the four sites through dedicated TA Teams composed of representatives from each of the project’s National Partner organizations: the NCJFCJ, the Center for Court Innovation (CCI), and the Battered Women’s Justice Project (BWJP). Specifically, TA Teams are helping these court systems determine how their procedures, practices, and structures related to custody and visitation can reduce further violence and trauma and enhance victim and child resilience and well-being.

Over the course of its intensive work with the FCEP sites, several themes emerged as each site engaged in efforts to improve their response to domestic violence in child custody cases. Building upon these themes in partnership with multiple stakeholders at each site, the FCEP identified 5 fundamental values that underlie the work and 16 guiding principles. View the values and guiding principles.