A new pilot program through the state court system aims to reduce the amount of time children spend in foster care.
The Safe Babies Court Team (SBCT) project was announced today by State Supreme Court Justice Paul Newby. SBCT will help move children from the foster program into permanent homes, Newby said.
“Safe Babies Court Teams will help families make community connections that are critical to the children’s well-being, development, and their bright future,” Newby said.
The target population is children ages birth to three years old. The program aims to improve the long-term well-being of children and families in the child welfare system. The program connects babies and their families with intensive support and services designed to promote healthy child development, while working to ensure a safe and speedy exit from foster care, Newby said. There will be frequent court hearings and family decision-making meetings.
The pilot programs will consist of a team of state level staff and community coordinators at the local level.
The three-year, five-site pilot program will begin in New Hanover, Mitchell and Yancey counties this year, then move into Brunswick, Durham and other counties. The programs were developed in partnership with Zero to Three, a membership-based organization with expertise in developing the science of early childhood development into pioneering programs.
Funding for these programs is made possible through grants from The Dogwood Health Trust, The Duke Endowment, and the Children’s Bureau through the Court Improvement Program.