Children's Justice Project

  • Eydie Trautwein, J.D.

  • Wyoming Supreme Court
  • 2301 Capitol Avenue
  • Cheyenne, WY
  • Voice: 307.777.7629
  • FAX: 307.777.3447

Data and CQI

Blog Talk Radio

CJP Training Series: A 1-hour Monthly Wyoming Juvenile Court System training.

Overview and History

The U.S. Department of Health and Human Services awarded the Wyoming Supreme Court a court grant in July 1999. The purpose of the grant is to assess and improve the juvenile court system's process involving Wyoming’s most vulnerable population—abused and neglected children. In October 1999, the Supreme Court appointed an advisory council consisting of judges, attorneys, a representative from the Department of Family Services, a foster care alumna, and other professionals involved in the child protection system.

A Handbook for Educators
Guardians AdLitem Skills-­Based Handbook
A Handbook For Children
Bear Goes to Court

Guidelines for Parent Attorneys
Handbook for Parents

How A Child Enters the System
Justice for Children

Legal Resource Manual
MDT Handbook
Your Rights
Juvenile Court Law Update 2004-2014

Neglect Hearing Checklists

The following Neglect Hearing Checklists are intended to assist judges, county attorneys, guardians ad litem, parents' attorneys and caseworkers comply with the letter and spirit of the Federal Adoption and Safe Families Act. A long and short version of each checklist can be downloaded by clicking on the icon below. In order to provide resources that are useful to judges, attorneys and caseworkers, please provide us your comments on how we can improve the checklists. We will continually assess the need to revise the checklists based on comments received and any changes made to federal or state law.


May 31, 2016 - 12:00 p.m. (noon)

Topic: Wyoming's New Juvenile Pattern Jury Instructions

Members of the Wyoming Juvenile Pattern Jury Instruction Committee will provide information about the newly released jury instructions for Wyoming abuse and neglect, child in need of supervision (CHINS), delinquency and termination of parental rights cases. This episode will highlight and discuss specific instructions. These jury instructions were released on May 10, 2016 by the Wyoming State Bar. This presentation will be 30 minutes in length.

Click here for Episode

April 14, 2016 - 12:00 p.m. (noon)

Topic: Wyoming Child Welfare Update and Changes in the Law (2016)

Presenters: Dan Wilde, J.D., Deputy Director, Wyoming Guardian ad Litem Division will provide an overview of changes in Wyoming law as a result of the 2016 Legislative Budget Session. The Wyoming legislature made one major change to child welfare law (HB118, Enrolled Act 41, Foster Care and Permanency - Additional Requirements) and several minor changes. This thirty (30) minute presentation will provide listeners will a brief summary of each change and discuss potential impacts on child welfare practice in Wyoming.

Click here for Episode

March 10, 2016 – 12:00 p.m. (noon)

Topic: ICWA: Understanding the New Guidelines

Presenters: Sheldon Spotted Elk, J.D., Director of the Indian Child Welfare Unit at Casey Family Programs will provide an overview of the Indian Child Welfare Act (ICWA), including the new guidelines. The Indian Child Welfare Act (ICWA), 25 U.S.C. §§ 1901-1963, was enacted in 1978 in response to a crisis affecting Indian children, families and Tribes. Studies revealed that large numbers of Indian children were being separated from their parents, extended families, and communities and placed in non-Indian homes. Through ICWA, Congress established minimum federal standards to be applied in state child custody proceedings. The Act requires state courts to utilize these federal standards to determine almost all of key issues that must be decided in child custody proceedings–when a child can be removed or parental rights terminated, what constitutes consent to adoption, and placement of the child in both adoption and foster care proceedings. Compliance with these requirements has been uneven across the country and certain provisions have been interpreted differently from one state to another. For that reason, the Department of Interior has issued new guidelines clarifying how the Act should be applied, and it is anticipated that binding regulations will be issued shortly.

Click here for Episode

February 11, 2016 - 12:00 p.m. (noon)

Topic: A Comprehensive Overview of Wyoming Juvenile Court Rules and Relevant Wyoming Supreme Court Decisions

Presenters:Jill Kucera, J.D., Senior Assistant Attorney General, Wyoming Attorney General's Office and Elizabeth B. Lance, J.D., Attorney, Wyoming Guardian Ad Litem Program will provide an overview of Wyoming's Juvenile Court Rules and relevant Wyoming Supreme Court decisions. The Rules of Procedure for Juvenile Courts ("Rules") (adopted on Feb. 9, 2007) govern practice and procedure in Wyoming's trial courts in all juvenile court actions: abuse and neglect, delinquency, and CHINS (child in need of supervision) proceedings. These Rules address hearings, discovery and inspection, submittal of reports, right to counsel, pretrial conferences and meeting of parties, stipulations, Court Appointed Special Advocate (CASA) provisions, inadmissibility of certain evidence, and concurrent criminal and juvenile proceedings. The presenters will provide information on all the Rules, with an emphasis on Rule 3: Discovery and Inspection; they will also present information about Wyoming Supreme Court cases that interpret the Rules. Listeners will learn about best practices and how the Rules are applied in different Wyoming jurisdictions. At the completion of this program, participants will know: (1) The Ten Rules of Procedure for Juvenile Courts; (2) Wyoming Supreme Court decisions on the Rules and (3) How these Rules relate to practices in difference jurisdictions.

Click here for Episode

Click here for Juvenile Court Rules.

January 14, 2016 - 12:00 p.m. (noon)

Topic: Reunification as a Permanency Option

Presenters: Lisa K. Finkey, J.D., a Wyoming attorney who represents children and families in abuse and neglect cases, will provide information on reunification as a permanency option in Wyoming child welfare cases. Listeners will learn about the benefits and barriers to reunification, as well as methods that can be used to engage families and professionals in reunification. Ms. Finkey will explain that removal from the home is meant to be a temporary solution to safety concerns. Within child welfare cases, the first permanency option should always be reunification with the home of origin. The focus of a child welfare case should be reunification until ordered otherwise by the court. Ms. Finkey will provide information about why professional should advocate for reunification.

Click here for Episode

December 10, 2015 - 12:00 p.m. (noon)

Topic: How IV-B and Medicaid Overlap with Wyoming's Child Welfare and Juvenile Court Systems

Presenters: Jan Stall and Lisa Brockman, Wyoming Department of Health and Tammy Cooley and Veronica Pedersen, Magellan Healthcare will present an overview of Medicaid and the Children's Health Insurance Plan (CHIP). They will address service delivery changes, transition, options for application submission and processing times as they relate to Medicaid and CHIP in Wyoming. They will address the Affordable Care Act changes concerning income eligibility for the Family Care Program and the program for former foster care youth. They will also discuss Wyoming's Children's Mental Health Waiver and the services provided pursuant to this waiver and how High Fidelity Wraparound services work when the child has serious emotional and behavioral issues. The representatives from Magellan Healthcare will discuss the services offered by Magellan, a managed care company, and how to access their services in Wyoming. The presentation will include information about how these services intersect and support families involved in Wyoming's child welfare and juvenile court systems.

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November 12, 2015 - 12:00 p.m. (noon)

Topic: An Overview of the Preventing Sex Trafficking and Strengthening Families Act of 2014 and Subsequent Changes to Wyoming Policy and Practice

Presenters: Stacey Obrecht, J.D., and Debra Hibbard and Stacey Dunlay from the Wyoming Department of Family Services will provide an overview of the Preventing Sex Trafficking and Strengthening Families Act of 2014, with a focus on IV-E requirements for identifying, reporting and determining services for victims of sex and labor trafficking. Listeners will learn about changes to Wyoming Department of Family Services (DFS) policies and procedures (as a result of the new federal legislation). The presentation will provide specific information about Wyoming DFS Policy 2.9 (Human Trafficking) and describe new tools being implemented to help identify and provide services to Wyoming victims.

Click here for Episode

October 8, 2015 - 12:00 p.m. (noon)

Topic: Life After In re: CDR and GC, Implications for Wyoming Juvenile Law Policy and Practice

Presenters: Aaron Hockman, Chief Trial and Appellate Counsel with the Wyoming Guardian ad Litem Division and Christina McCabe, a Senior Assistant Attorney General in the Wyoming Attorney General's Office, Human Services Division will provide an overview of two (2) recent Wyoming Supreme Court opinions: (1) In the Interest of: CDR, Minor, MR, Appellant (Respondent) v. The State of Wyoming, Appellee (Petitioner), 2015 WY 79 and (2) In the Interest of: GC, A Minor Child, KC, Appellant (Respondent) v. The State of Wyoming, Appellee (Petitioner), 2015 WY 73. The presentation will include information about juvenile court jurisdiction, consent decrees, permanency hearings, due process and evidentiary considerations specific to Wyoming juvenile cases.

Click here for Episode

Archived BlogTalk Topics


2016 CJC: A Family’s Road to Safety, Permanency, and Well-Being
June 22, 2016 to June 24, 2016
Ramkota Hotel and Conference Center (Casper, Wyoming)

Conference Agenda: Click here for a complete schedule of events.

Registration: Click here to register for the conference
Registration is free. Space is limited. Registration closes on June 1, 2016.

Hotel Information:
Ramkota Hotel and Conference Center (Casper, Wyoming)
800 N. Poplar, Casper, WY 82601 | Phone: (307) 266-6000

Please join us in Casper, Wyoming for the 2016 Children’s Justice Conference featuring a wide range of child welfare legal topics. The Conference is sponsored by the Wyoming Supreme Court Children’s Justice Project, Guardians Ad Litem Division, and the Department of Family Services. This conference is designed for judges, attorneys (prosecutors, GALs, parent attorneys), case workers, advocates and providers involved in abuse and neglect, child in need of supervision (CHINs) and delinquency proceedings. Conference sessions are approved for continuing legal education (CLE) credits.

Awards Reception: A reception will be held on Wednesday, June 22, 2016 (at the conference hotel) from 5:00 p.m. to 6:30 p.m. An outstanding DFS caseworker, GAL, Parent Attorney and Prosecutor will be recognized during the reception. To nominate an individual from your community for an award, please click the links below:


The Wyoming Children's Justice Project (CJP) announces the availability of scholarships for district court judges and/or attorneys who prosecute or accept court appointments to represent children or parents in child abuse and neglect (non-criminal), child in need of supervision, and termination of parental rights cases. These scholarships are intended to encourage judges and attorneys to attend national conferences that focus upon child welfare, juvenile, and family law. The scholarships may cover registration fees and reimbursement of airfare, lodging, meals and other travel expenses. Attorneys approved for scholarships must contribute at least 25% of the conference expenses, and agree to share the information learned with other attorneys and/or others working or volunteering in the juvenile court system.

Juvenile Court Training Modules

Module 1: Overview of Juvenile Court Module 2: Abuse and Neglect Proceedings Module 3: Child In Need of Supervision(CHINS) Proceedings Module 4: Delinquency Proceedings Module 5: Multidisciplinary Team Module 6: Confidentiality


Strategic Plan


Name / Title Capacity City Term Expiration
Hon. William U. Hill, Chair
Wyoming Supreme Court Cheyenne 06/30/2018
Kerri Bumgardner
Uinta County District Court Clerk
District Court Clerk Evanston 06/30/2018
Sheryl Bunting
Deputy County and Prosecuting Attorney, Sheridan County
Prosecutor Sheridan 06/30/2017
Steve Corsi
Director, Wyoming Department of Family Services
Wyoming Department of Family Services Cheyenne 06/30/2017
Hon. Steven Cranfill
District Court Judge, 5th Judicial District
District Court Judge Cody 06/30/2017
Hon. Floyd Esquibel
Senator, Wyoming State Senate
Wyoming State Senate Cheyenne 06/30/2016
Hon. John G. Fenn
District Court Judge, 4th Judicial District
District Court Judge Sheridan 06/30/2016
Michelle Heinen
UPLIFT, Parent Advocate
Parent Advocate Cheyenne 06/30/2018
Hon. Nena R. James
District Court Judge, 3rd Judicial District
District Court Judge Green River 06/30/2016
Jill Kucera
Senior Assistant Attorney General
Attorney General or designee Cheyenne 06/30/2016
Kristie Langley
DFS Senior Policy / Legal Analyst
Department of Family Services Cheyenne 06/30/2017
Dona Playton
University of Wyoming, College of Law
Parent Attorney Cheyenne 06/30/2017
Miguel Reyes
Wyoming Advocates for Youth
Child Advocate Cheyenne 06/30/2017
Ryan Roden
Deputy State Public Defender
Wyoming State Public Defender or designee Cheyenne 06/30/2018
Terri V. Smith
Tribal Representative (enrolled member of the Northern Arapaho Tribe) Lander 06/30/2018
Bill Stanton
Casey Family Programs
Foster Care Service Provider or designee Kernville 06/30/2017
Hon. Mary Throne
Representative, Wyoming State House of Representatives
Wyoming State House of Representatives Cheyenne 06/30/2016
Carol Tullio
CASA of Laramie County
Court Appointed Special Advocate (CASA) Cheyenne 06/30/2018
Stephen Weichman
Teton County & Prosecuting Attorney
WY County Prosecuting Attorneys' Association Jackson 06/30/2018
Dan Wilde
Director, GAL Program
Guardians ad Litem Cheyenne 06/30/2016
Hon. Norman E. Young
District Court Judge, 9th Judicial District
District Court Judge Lander 06/30/2017
Lily Sharpe
State Court Administrator, Ex-Officio Member
Supreme Court Administrator Cheyenne 06/30/2017
Children's Justice Project

Children's Justice Project - The Golden Award

In 2008, the Wyoming Supreme Court Children's Justice Project established the Excellence Award to recognize an individual involved in the child welfare system who has made significant contributions to the system and is dedicated to improving the lives of children and families. The award is presented each year at the Children's Justice Conference. Nominations for the award are solicited statewide. The Award Selection Committee is comprised of past award recipients. In 2014, the Excellence Award was renamed after Justice Michael Golden (the 2014 Excellence Award recipient) and is now referred to as the Justice Michael Golden Award or the "Golden Award".

Past Awardees:
  • 2015 Judge Steven Cranfill
  • 2014 Justice Michael Golden
  • 2012 Brenden McKinney
  • 2011 Jean Day
  • 2010 Rick Robb
  • 2009 Stacey Obrecht
  • 2008 Dan Wilde
2016 Golden Award Nomination Form