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July/August 2019Vol. 20, No. 6Guiding Principles for Court Teams Working With Infants, Toddlers, and Families in Child Welfare

The Quality Improvement Center for Research-Based Infant-Toddler Court Teams developed a series of principles for infant-toddler court teams—and for the wider child welfare field—to incorporate into their practice. These principles are meant to help create a caring and thoughtful environment for children and families involved in the child welfare system, particularly as they move through the courts, and provide professionals with a solid framework to improve their practice.

This resource highlights the following 10 guiding principles:

  • Build strong families and healthy communities for very young children.
  • Respect and honor family and community strengths, vulnerabilities, and diversity.
  • Ensure equity for infants, toddlers, and families.
  • Commit to social justice for all infants, toddlers, and families.
  • Demonstrate an attitude of self-awareness, respect, and humility toward diverse points of view.
  • Build genuine relationships based on mutual trust and respect.
  • Practice openness in a dynamic learning system with an understanding that everyone has a contribution to make.
  • Maintain transparency in research and evaluation that is relevant and useful for the community.
  • Empower communities to improve programs and transform systems.
  • Improve practice by bringing the science of early childhood development into the courtroom.

Many of the principle descriptions also include questions to answer, vignettes that provide a clearer picture of how implementing the principles can guide practice, and links to useful resources. Professionals can use the questions related to each principle to help guide discussions within groups and organizations.

From Standard to Practice: Guiding Principles for Professionals Working With Infants, Toddlers, and Families in Child Welfare is available at (363 KB).