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Child-Centered Practices for the Courtroom and Community: A Guide to Working Effectively with Young Children and Their Families in the Child Welfare System

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How can early childhood professionals provide the best possible services and supports to families in the child welfare system? This guidebook has the practical, real-world answers professionals need as they navigate the complex system, work with the courts, and plan interventions and treatment for the most vulnerable young children and families.

Developed by a psychologist, a judge, and an expert on early intervention and education, this accessible practitioner's guide introduces early childhood professionals to the coordinated, evidence-based practices used successfully in Miami's juvenile court and child welfare community. As they follow a gripping case study of one young mother and her children, readers will see in vivid detail why effective, integrated services are needed to improve child and family outcomes. Then, with practical tips and guidance from the perspective of the court, the clinician, and the early intervention expert, readers will discover how to

  • plan and implement a coordinated system of care
  • advance a more therapeutic approach to child welfare in the courtroom and community
  • choose and implement an evidence-based parenting program
  • improve relationships between children and parents by implementing Child-Parent Psychotherapy (CPP)
  • successfully navigate a court appearance, from understanding the thoughts and perspectives of the judge to delivering effective testimony
  • build trusting, supportive relationships with families
  • improve children's early access to quality care and education programs
  • lead reform efforts toward a more child-centered child welfare system
  • decrease the incidence of burnout and compassion fatigue

Readers will also get sample forms and checklists they can use as models to enhance their everyday work with families and children (see list below).

With these practical tools and evidence-based strategies, professionals will ensure coordinated, high-quality services that improve the child welfare system and have long-lasting positive effects on young children and families.

Includes an appendix of practical sample forms such as

  • Clinical Interaction Checklist
  • Sample Court Orders
  • Court Report Templates
  • Decision-Making Tree for CPP and Parenting
  • Sample Relationship-Based Assessment
  • Individualized Family Support Plan and Evaluation Report
  • Healthy Start Referral Form
  • Order for Part C Evaluation
  • and more