About the Infant-Toddler Court Program

The ITCP is operated by ZERO TO THREE in partnership with The American Bar Association Center on Children and the Law; The Center for the Study of Social Policy; The National Council of Juvenile and Family Court Judges; an independent evaluation team at RTI International; and our expert counsultants. 


ZERO TO THREE is a national nonprofit that provides parents, professionals and policymakers the knowledge and know-how to nurture early development. Our mission is to ensure that all babies and toddlers have a strong start in life. We were founded in 1977 by top experts in child development, health and mental health. We have evolved into the organization that plays a critical leadership role in promoting understanding around key issues affecting young children and their families, including child care, infant mental health, early language and literacy development, early intervention and the impact of culture on early childhood development. ZERO TO THREE is unique in our multidisciplinary approach to child development. Our emphasis on bringing together the perspectives of many fields and many specialists is rooted in the robust research studies showing that all domains of development—social, emotional, intellectual, language and physical—are interdependent and work together to promote a child’s overall health and well-being in the context of his family and culture.

Center for the Study of Social Policy (CSSP)

The Center for the Study of Social Policy (CSSP) is a national, nonprofit organization recognized for its leadership in shaping policy, reforming public systems and building the capacity of communities. For more than 30 years, CSSP has influenced and supported elected officials, public administrators, families and neighborhood residents to take the actions they need. Headquartered in Washington, D.C., with offices in New York and Los Angeles, CSSP translates research and new ideas into on-the-ground solutions. We then use the knowledge from those real experiences to better inform the next generation of ideas, programs and policies. All of CSSP’s work is devoted to ensuring low-income children and youth can learn, develop and thrive with the support of strong families in safe and healthy communities. To achieve this goal, we focus on those who face the most significant barriers to opportunity, including racial and ethnic minorities, immigrants and refugees, families in neighborhoods of concentrated poverty and families in contact with intervening public systems (e.g., child welfare, juvenile justice). Our work positively impacts outcomes for multiple generations—both parents and their children, and with a decades-long history of providing on-the-ground assistance and consultation across the country, CSSP continues to co-invest with communities to make sustainable changes.

National Council of Juvenile and Family Court Judges (NCJFCJ)

The NCJFCJ is one of the largest and oldest judicial membership organizations in the nation, serving an estimated 30,000 professionals in the juvenile and family justice system including judges, referees, commissioners, court masters and administrators, social and mental health workers, police, and probation officers. The mission of the National Council of Juvenile and Family Court Judges is to provide all judges, courts, and related agencies involved with juvenile, family, and domestic violence cases with the knowledge and skills to improve the lives of the families and children who seek justice. As part of the QIC-CT, the NCJFCJ is committed to advancing judicial understanding of recommended dependency court practice, infants, toddlers, and families in the court system, and judicial leadership for systems change.

RTI International

RTI International is one of the world’s leading research institutes, dedicated to improving the human condition by turning knowledge into practice. Our staff of more than 3,700 provides research and technical services to governments and businesses in more than 75 countries in the areas of health and pharmaceuticals, education and training, surveys and statistics, advanced technology, international development, economic and social policy, energy and the environment, and laboratory testing and chemical analysis.

Supporting Stakeholder Collaboration

The underlying success of the Safe Babies Court Teams (SBCT) approach hinges on the implementation of crucial partnerships and collaborative efforts across all facets of this work. Through strong collaboration, the stakeholders intervening with infants and toddlers in child welfare have the opportunity to learn from one another about the impact that can be made through adopting a developmental approach to understanding families’ trauma, healing, and recovery.

Supporting all stakeholders in the co-creation of a court model that is informed by early childhood development, grounded in research, and tailored to meet the needs and values of their community—whether local or statewide—can help sustain the tenure of an infant-toddler court team approach.

Supporting Infant-Toddler Court Teams in Utilizing Evidence-Based and Evidence-Informed Practices

Through technical assistance, the ITCP will work with court teams to provide resources to support the implementation process, the sustainability of the project, and outcomes for children and families. The insight gathered through this process will be used to build the body of knowledge on the mix of elements that will assist jurisdictions across the country in building the infrastructure capacity needed to ensure that infants, toddlers, and families involved with child welfare have access to high-quality, evidence-based services.

The ITCP recommends the use of evidence-based and evidence-informed practices that are:

  • Supported by evidence of efficacy and a strong theory of change with infants, toddlers, and families in the child welfare system;
  • Guided by elements of early development and attachment between young children and their parents and caregivers; and
  • Informed with family, community, and professional values.

Learn more at about the ITCP's work around evidence-based practices.