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Infant-Toddler Court Team

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

Every seven minutes, a baby or toddler is removed from their family due to alleged maltreatment or neglect. Of all children in Ohio’s foster care system, 31% are ages 5 and under. This creates a huge segment of the foster care population that needs specialized support and interventions tailored to their unique needs and stages of development.


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.


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

Under a five-year federal HRSA grant, Groundwork Ohio is an essential partner of the Statewide Implementation Team, alongside the Educational Service Center of Northeast Ohio (ESCNEO), Children's Defense Fund-Ohio (CDF-Ohio), and Case Western Reserve University. This implementation team has joined together in a unique partnership to expand the Safe Babies Court Team™ (SBCT) approach in Ohio through infant-toddler court teams in Cuyahoga, Scioto, and Lucas counties.


Local and statewide partners, along with national leadership from ZERO TO THREE, are working collaboratively to transform the child welfare system for infants and toddlers ages 0-3 and their families to ensure a strong start in life and support better developmental outcomes. This approach takes a punitive system and transforms it into one that is holistic and trauma-informed, placing the child, family, and local community at the center.

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