Protecting Our Infants Act: Report to Congress.
Behavioral Health Coordinating Council Subcommittee on Prescription Drug Abuse. U.S. Department of Health and Human Services.
Report to Congress
Published: January 2017
Substance Abuse and Mental Health Services Administration (SAMHSA)
1 Choke Cherry Road
Rockville, MD 20857
This report discusses the findings of a review of the Strong Starts Court Initiative (also called Strong Starts), launched by the Center for Court Innovation in the Bronx Family Court on June 2015. The program has four primary goals: to develop a specialized court approach and increase the family court’s capacity to bring positive changes to children ages three years and younger and their families involved in child abuse and neglect cases in the Bronx Family Court; to assess and understand the needs of court-involved infants and their families; to enhance delivery of targeted services for court-involved infants and their families; and to reunite court-involved infants and families. To understand the pilot operations of the Strong Starts Court Initiative, a process evaluation was conducted that consisted of four days of court observations, three client interviews, and 13 staff and stakeholder interviews. The pilot study lasted from September 2015 to February 2016, and examined the first nine months of program implementation. Findings from the study include: all three clients interviewed said that their current case was handled fairly in the court and pointed to the important role played by the Strong Starts coordinator; all clients interviewed had received a range of referrals for themselves and noted long wait times at the Bronx Family Court; findings from qualitative interviews with staff and stakeholders indicated that the role of the dedicated presiding judge, regular court appearances, and the use of clinical conferences were integral components of the program model; and a few of those interviewed cited a lack of buy-in from players on some of the cases and a lack of familiarity with Strong Starts. The report closes with recommendations for improving the program. 19 references.
infants; child abuse; child neglect; family courts; capacity building; model programs; program descriptions; collaboration; community based services; program evaluations; family reunification; judicial role; family group conferencing