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Data Retreat for Safe Babies Court Team

By Caitlin Feasby, Statewide Coordinator, Ohio Infant-Toddler Court Team

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Ohio’s Safe Babies Court Team recently entered its second year under the federal HRSA grant. Ohio currently has three active Safe Babies sites in three geographically diverse counties in the state: Cuyahoga (urban), Lucas (suburban), and Scioto (rural), with room to grow into more counties in the coming years. The state of Ohio team, including the Educational Service Center of Northeast Ohio, Children’s Defense Fund of Ohio, Case Western Reserve University, and Groundwork Ohio organized the first-ever Safe Babies Data Retreat dedicated solely to data, covering topics such as:

  1. looking back and looking ahead at Ohio’s data,

  2. state and national evaluation practices, and

  3. continuous quality improvement (CQI).

This retreat was made possible by the hard work and dedication of the state of Ohio team in addition to our national and federal partners, ZERO TO THREE and HRSA, respectively. Together, all levels of the Safe Babies teams engaged in discussion from granular to big-picture goals.

Each Safe Babies site is working diligently to influence a trauma-informed approach to child welfare practices for children ages 0-3 and their families. Some measures of success (such as number of foster care placements, length of time the case is open, etc.) may be easy to communicate with a number. Other important components of system change, such as relationship building, community and statewide buy-in, and practice changes can be more challenging to capture with numbers, yet these are essential building blocks for sustainability of each program. The Data Retreat offered a forum that allowed each team member to be heard, discuss challenges and triumphs, and help identify goals for the statewide program's future.

One important pathway to enhancing data collection is to be clear about the story that needs to be told. By asking ourselves what is success and what is the story we want to tell about the work, we are better positioned to identify the way(s) we can measure that success. While measuring success may be an ever-evolving concept, the Ohio team took time to identify priorities and a vision for the future of the Safe Babies approach in our state, including (among others):

  1. We create a system that prioritizes positive change for system-involved 0-3 year-olds.

  2. Individuals are treated as humans, not as case numbers.

  3. We break cycles that trap families in unproductive and unhelpful systems.

  4. Our system moves from a compliance-driven focus to one that emphasizes behavioral and practice changes.

  5. To transform individual experiences, we bring people together through strong, supportive networks that place value on lived experience.


Click here for more information about ZERO TO THREE’s Safe Babies approach.

Click here for more information about Ohio’s Safe Babies program.

Click here to receive updates from Groundwork Ohio and stay up-to-date with our wide portfolio of advocacy priorities!


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