Film database of child welfare court, delinquency court proceedings now available to IU faculty

  • May 10, 2016


INDIANAPOLIS -- Faculty throughout the Indiana University campus system now have access to almost 150 videos shot in juvenile courts, detention centers and prisons that can be used to train future social workers, probation officers, counselors, correctional officers, teachers and others who will work with abused, neglected and at-risk youth.

The footage is available through the Institute for Juvenile Court and Corrections Research. It was created through a collaboration between the Indiana University Research and Technology Corp. and Calamari Productions, an Emmy Award-winning film production company based in Indianapolis. Three videos are available to the public.

The project was made possible by a grant from Lilly Endowment Inc.

IU alumna Karen F. Grau is founder and executive producer at Calamari Productions. She received approval from the Indiana Supreme Court to film inside the courts in 1998 and began filming in 1999. The most prominent content in the database focuses on child welfare, both abuse and neglect; juvenile justice and delinquency; and children in adult prison.

"The goal of filming was to illuminate the cycle of misery that seems to hover over our juvenile courts and understand how we can all find solutions to some of our most vexing social issues," Grau said. "Over the past 17 years, we have amassed thousands of hours of content and produced dozens of documentary films that have led to breathtaking outcomes, nationally and around the globe. The ability to explore what all of this truly looks like on the inside is vitally important as new legislative initiatives are considered around the country, and before those on the front lines make decisions that affect the lives of the children entrusted to their care."

Calamari Productions' footage has been cataloged and tagged in the database. It is available to IU faculty across all academic disciplines through a service hosted by IU Libraries in Bloomington. Faculty can log in to the database using their IU network ID and passphrase to search for and stream the videos.

"IJCCR fits well with IU Libraries' mission to support and strengthen teaching, learning and research," said Jon Dunn, assistant dean for library technologies. "Building on our solid history of leadership in online access, this collection leverages the Avalon Media System open source software platform co-developed by IU Libraries and Northwestern University. We are pleased to be a partner in preserving and providing access to this valuable collection that will serve as a resource for a wide range of disciplines."

Dean Michael A. Patchner said the IU School of Social Work works closely with the Indiana Department of Child Services to educate and train the next generation of case managers and leaders who will impact the lives of Indiana's most vulnerable children. He said the IJCCR database will add to the state-of-the-art education the students receive through the Indiana Child Welfare Education and Training Partnership.

"Now, for the first time, our students will be able to watch actual footage of how parents and children react when caseworkers must remove children from their homes, or what it is like to testify in court, or what life is like in a juvenile detention facility," Patchner said. "We know that the skills our students learn help them handle such situations. Now our students can see those skills being used in real situations and understand how they work in the real world, in some of the most difficult situations any of us can imagine."

About Indiana University Research and Technology Corp.

IURTC is a not-for-profit corporation tasked with the protecting and commercializing of technology emanating from innovations by IU researchers. Since 1997, IU research has generated more than 2,700 inventions resulting in over 3,900 global patent applications being filed by IURTC. These discoveries have generated $133 million in licensing and royalty income, including $111 million in funding for IU departments, labs and inventors.​