By: Gongwer Ohio
Groundwork Ohio and the Children's Defense Fund-Ohio are partnering to develop "court teams" in three counties to focus child welfare issues on a child's well-being.
The groups will help develop infant-toddler court teams in Cuyahoga, Montgomery and Scioto counties, funded by a $425,000 grant from the national group Zero to Three. A court team is a judge-led group that helps connect families with services before the child enters the welfare system.
"We are thrilled to be announcing this partnership at a time when our children need our attention now more than ever," CDF-Ohio Executive Director Tracy Nájera said in a statement. "Given the priorities of Governor DeWine and the needs of our youngest Ohioans and their families, the timing is right for Ohio to focus, across sectors and at state and community levels, on improving the safety, stability and well-being of babies, toddlers and families under court jurisdiction. This evidence-based and highly effective intervention will also inform our ongoing policy work at the state level."
Added Groundwork Ohio Executive Director Shannon Jones: "We know that babies in the child welfare system--and their families--are not receiving the preventive evidence-based interventions needed to fully address their developmental, health, mental health and substance abuse needs during the most critical period of brain development. Without early interventions, we find these children again in our state systems with delays in development, emotional distress, learning problems, and difficulty forming healthy relationships later in life."