Thursday, May 26, 2011

Infant-Toddler Child Welfare Agenda: CSSP and Partners Issue a Call to Action

Every year, almost 200,000 children ages birth to 3 years old come into contact with the child welfare system; more than a third of them are placed in foster care, representing the largest age group entering care. Child maltreatment threatens the significant brain development children undergo at these ages, and the policies and practices of the child welfare system may fail to address or even exacerbate these effects. Child welfare policy and practice rarely view young children through a developmental lens or recognize the special vulnerability of this group, but significant research about promoting healthy brain development in infants and toddlers exist and can shape more effective, supportive policies and practices.

With a coalition of long-time partners—including American Humane Society, Child Welfare League of America, Children’s Defense Fund, and ZERO TO THREE, Center for the Study of Social Policy has issued a policy agenda aimed at better addressing the developmental needs of infants and toddlers who come into contact with the child welfare system. It is intended to provide a starting point for federal, state and local policymakers and administrators to assess where and how they can revise or institute policies that protect the safety and development of young children. This call to action presents the compelling evidence for addressing the needs of infants and toddlers. It then suggests key elements of a developmental approach for infants and toddlers in child welfare.

Visit for more information about preventing child abuse and neglect, as well as safely increasing exits from foster care to permanence. Join our mailing list via our homepage to receive updates on strategies to promote children’s social, emotional and behavioral health—coming soon!

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