ZERO TO THREE, the country’s leading nonprofit dedicated to ensuring babies and toddlers have a strong start in life, today announced it has been awarded first-year funding of $5 million dollars as part of a five-year continuation grant from the Division of Home Visiting and Early Childhood Systems in the Maternal and Child Health Bureau of the Health Resources and Services Administration of the U.S. Department of Health and Human Services (HHS). The grant will advance the national reach, impact and sustainability of the Infant-Toddler Court Program (ITCP), a national initiative to improve the health and well-being of babies, toddlers and families in or at risk of involvement in the child welfare system.
“This grant marks a remarkable opportunity to further our Infant-Toddler Court Program’s life-changing impact,” stated Matthew Melmed, executive director at ZERO TO THREE. “For our youngest children, who make up the largest age group entering foster care, the threat of maltreatment arises at a crucial time in life when early experiences shape the brain’s development for a foundation of learning and future success. We are grateful to HHS for this funding opportunity and their ongoing support, which will allow us to ensure all babies have every opportunity to reach their full potential.”
As the National Resource Center for the Infant-Toddler Court Program (ITCP), ZERO TO THREE will support wide-scale dissemination of the Safe Babies Court Team™ (SBCT) approach, that puts research into practice to meet the developmental needs of infants, toddlers and their families. ZERO TO THREE and ITCP partners will increase the capacity of states, tribes and local communities to implement and sustain the SBCT approach through infant-toddler court teams, advance systems building to support prenatal-to-3 access to comprehensive services and integrate parent voices to address barriers to health equity.
“While our work is anchored in the court system, it is a powerful entry point for broad cross-system collaboration and alignment to serve families more effectively across multiple areas of need,” added Janie Huddleston, Program Director of the ITCP at ZERO TO THREE. “This funding will allow us to continue to lead the way in championing policies and practices that meaningfully and holistically address family needs at the state and community levels.”
Since 2014, the ITCP has supported more than 105 communities in 30 states in spreading best practices for babies, toddlers and families and strengthening child welfare, health and early childhood systems to improve the community’s response to child maltreatment.
About ZERO TO THREE
ZERO TO THREE works to ensure all babies and toddlers benefit from the family and community connections critical to their well-being and development. Since 1977, the organization has advanced the proven power of nurturing relationships by transforming the science of early childhood into helpful resources, practical tools, and responsive policies for millions of parents, professionals, and policymakers. For more information, and to learn how to become a ZERO TO THREE member, please visit zerotothree.org, facebook.com/zerotothree or follow @zerotothree on Twitter.