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Better outcomes for young children involved in the dependency system


From April 2008 to September 2011, the Center for Children & Youth Justice (CCYJ) coordinated a groundbreaking project in south King County, WA, called Supporting Early Connections (SEC). With funding from the Stuart Foundation, CCYJ developed an effective, multi-system, child-focused collaboration committed to addressing the social-emotional, mental health and relationship needs of infants, toddlers, and their biological parents who had child welfare cases heard at the dependency court in Kent, WA.

Through collaboration, cross-system training for professionals, and access to evidence-based treatment (Child Parent Psychotherapy) for babies and their families, SEC sought better outcomes for young children involved in the dependency system. This critical early investment in maltreated children will ultimately reduce long-term costs to the community, particularly within the justice, child welfare and mental health systems.

An evaluation of Supporting Early Connections was completed in November 2011 and showed significant positive results over the first three-and-a-half years of the program.

Read the Executive Summary.

Read the Full Evaluation.

Now CCYJ has evolved the foundational work of SEC by developing the Early Childhood Table of Ten, a multi-disciplinary court improvement effort with a focus on the needs of young children.  The Table of Ten has since undertaken two different projects.  One focused on making parent-child visits more developmentally appropriate for young children.  The other is working to improve access to important Early Intervention services that address developmental delays and disabilities, which are much more prevalent in young children who have experienced trauma, abuse and/or neglect.