Safe Baby Court Team

Transforming the Experience of Infants & Toddlers in Ohio's Child Welfare System

In 2020, Groundwork Ohio and the Children’s Defense Fund-Ohio entered a unique partnership to to expand the Safe Babies Court Team™ (SBCT) approach in Ohio through standing up infant-toddler court teams in Cuyahoga and Scioto counties under the leadership of Judge Kristin Sweeney and Judge Alan Lemons respectively. The work is funded by a one-year, $425,000 State Expansion Grant from ZERO TO THREE, a national leader whose mission is to ensure that all babies and toddlers have a strong start in life. The organizations have engaged Cindy Oser, recently retired as Director of Infant and Early Childhood Mental Health at ZERO TO THREE to serve as the Statewide Coordinator for the grant.

Our Mission

The Ohio Infant-Toddler Court Team Expansion Project intends to transform the experience of infants and toddlers and their families involved in the court system so that they can be safe, loved and thrive, and to enable communities to be non-adversarial, racially, and culturally equitable, and collaborative as they address the problems that interfere with the health and well-being of children and families. 


Our Vision

We will create a future where all families have the capacities, resources, and supports to care for and nurture their children.

Implementing Our Approach

In order to successfully implement this approach, we have organized a group of leading experts to be a part of the Ohio Infant-Toddler Court Team State Advisory Group. This group meets quarterly to address gaps and barriers families and courts face as they implement this program in hopes that this program will be implemented statewide in the near future. The group is comprised of leaders from the following organizations:

  • Children’s Defense Fund-Ohio

  • County Commissioners Association of Ohio

  • Cuyahoga County Juvenile Court

  • Governor Mike DeWine’s Office of Children’s Initiatives

  • Groundwork Ohio

  • Linking Systems of Care Program, Ohio Domestic Violence Network 

  • Lucas County Juvenile Court

  • MomsFirst Fatherhood Coordinator 

  • Ohio Association for Infant and Early Childhood Mental Health

  • Ohio CASA/GAL Association

  • Ohio Chapter - American Academy of Pediatrics

  • Ohio Children’s Alliance

  • Ohio Children's Trust Fund

  • Ohio Department of Developmental Disabilities

  • Ohio Department of Education

  • Ohio Department of Health, Bureau of Maternal, Child, and Family Health

  • Ohio Department of Mental Health and Substance Abuse Services

  • Ohio Department of Jobs and Family Services, Office of Families and Children

  • Ohio National Association of Social Workers

  • Ohio START (Sobriety, Treatment and Reducing Trauma)

  • Ohio Supreme Court

  • Public Children Services Association of Ohio

  • Scioto County Court of Common Pleas, Juvenile Division