CHICAGO (CBS) — Illinois’ Department of Children and Family Services is working with the Cook County Courts to find a better way to deal with the babies and toddlers living through trauma at such a young age.
DCFS Deputy Director Kimberly Mann said the Early Childhood Court Team deals with newborns to three-year olds who have been subject to abuse or neglect. WBBM’s Political Editor Craig Dellimore reports.
“These children have all been assessed, these families have all been assessed for high enough levels of risk to children’s safety,” Mann said.
Judge Patricia Martin, presiding judge for the Cook County Court’s Child Protection Division, said the so-called “Safe Babies’ Court” can find and provide services that can address a family’s basic problems and whatever’s needed to truly help the child.
“This program brings together a lot of outside entities, not only mental health, physical health, housing, just a bunch of entities that touch the lives of our families,” Martin said.
Mann said this pilot program assembles a team to help the family going forward.
“We are interested in what’s really going to make this family more stable, more able to care for their children in the long run,” she said.
Mann said the Safe Babies Court could help children develop and thrive after experiencing trauma and the families could get out of the court system faster.
Right now this pilot program is small and limited to Cook County, but it will grow.