Skip to main content
U.S. flag

An official website of the United States government

Official websites use .gov
A .gov website belongs to an official government organization in the United States.

Secure .gov websites use HTTPS
A lock () or https:// means you’ve safely connected to the .gov website. Share sensitive information only on official, secure websites.

June 2007Vol. 8, No. 5Court Practices to Improve Outcomes for Young Children

Four model court-community partnerships that focus on the developmental needs of very young children are striving to improve outcomes for maltreated infants, toddlers, and their families. Young children are at particular risk for long-term harm when early relationships, which provide the foundation for a child's social and emotional well-being, are disrupted by placement in out-of-home care. A new policy brief published by the American Bar Association Center on Children and the Law and ZERO TO THREE explains how collaboration among court, child protection, and mental health systems can help young children and their families in the child welfare system achieve permanency and stability.

Part I of the policy brief describes the four model programs and includes a sample case illustrating how each program has helped a young child. Three core beliefs form the basis for the programs:

  • Relationships are key to changing systems and practices.
  • Interventions informed by the science of early childhood development lead to better outcomes.
  • Communication, collaboration, and a long-term view are necessary to help children and families.

Part II focuses on common components that contribute to the success of court-community collaboration. Practice tips for attorneys and judges interested in establishing a court-community collaboration are also provided.

Healing the Youngest Children: Model Court-Community Partnerships is available online: (164 MB)