Kids’ Court is marking an important milestone this year as the program begins its 25th year of helping child and teen victims of sexual abuse or other trauma prepare for testifying in court.
Kids’ Court Marks Its 25th Anniversary
Kids’ Court is marking an important milestone this year as the program begins its 25th year of helping child and teen victims of sexual abuse or other trauma prepare for testifying in court. The special program was started in 1989 as a way to make the experience of testifying in court less intimidating for children. The criminal justice system is complex and can evoke feelings of anxiety. However, Kids’ Court and Teen Court educate and support children and their parents or guardians as they participate in the criminal justice process.
Kids’ Court is an activity-based program held at least four times a year. The sessions are held on Saturday mornings in a courtroom at the Norm Maleng Regional Justice Center in Kent. Through a standardized curriculum, participants engage in discussions with a judge and prosecutor. Utilizing role plays, question and answer sessions and fun games, the program increases children’s knowledge of courtroom personnel and procedures, enhances self confidence, and introduces stress reduction techniques.
The program helps kids view testifying in court as an accomplishment instead of something to be afraid of. Parents and kids are also able to provide feedback on the program. Some recent comments from parent/child evaluations include:
“It was informative and made me feel much more comfortable. The people here were super nice.”
“The information was vital, and we are more informed about the process.”
“Very informative and made the kids feel more comfortable.”
The Kids’ Court program was created by Donna Belin and Debbie Doane.