Journey Mapping The Hillsborough County Early Childhood Court Program.
Mackie, Joanna F. Bjorke, Anne. Foti, Tara R. Horwitz, Cynthia. Maddocks, Lisa C. Marshall, Jennifer.
Published: August 2019
Children and Youth Services Review
Vol. 103 , p. 57-62
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The dependency court system impacts families with infants and young children in unique ways that can have long-lasting and detrimental effects. Young children have become increasingly overrepresented in the foster care system. Because of the critical periods for emotional attachment and cognitive development during first three years of life, the Early Childhood Court (ECC) model was developed to address the needs of young children and families in the dependency court system. The goals of ECC are to more effectively address parents' mental health and other needs, support attachment relationships for the children, and achieve permanency at a faster rate through family court team problem-solving and trauma-informed approach. This evaluation of one county's ECC system used journey mapping to gather multiple perspectives on the strengths and challenges in implementing ECC. Twenty-nine interviews were conducted with 21 participants involved in ECC, including legal and mental health professionals, case managers, the Community Coordinator, biological and foster parents, and research assistant observers. Interviews occurred at key touchpoints, which included physical locations where important or consequential events took place (e.g., meetings, court hearings) and interactions with key individuals such as children, families, and other professionals involved in ECC (e.g., organized family team meetings, brief impromptu conversations). This evaluation illuminated several aspects of ECC in one county that were consistent with the national model and also provided new insights using a novel methodological approach. Understanding more about specialized court processes for the youngest children has the potential to positively influence individual and family outcomes across the lifecourse. (Author abstract)
family courts; foster children; preschool children; models; court reform; family support systems; permanency; trauma informed practice; parent engagement; EARLY INTERVENTION PROGRAMS; Florida