Pictured from L-R: Janice Currier-Ezepchick, Aileen McKenna, Catherine Linehan, and Ebony Manning.
Photo credit: Frank Brown

New Haven/Milford Infant-Toddler Court Teams, Connecticut

New Haven Infant-Toddler Court Team

Geographic/Demographic Reach: New Haven County (only the city of New Haven participates).  There are approximately 9,214 children under age 5 in the county, and approximately 47 children under age 3 in foster care.

Court Team Members:

  • New Haven Area Director- The Department of Children and Families (DCF)
  • Executive Director- Family Centered Services
  • DCF Liaison- Connecticut Association of Foster & Adoptive Parents
  • Clinical Director- ‘r Kids Family Center
  • Executive Director- ‘r Kids Family Center
  • Director- The Edward Zigler Center Yale Child Study Center
  • Clinical Coordinator- Jewish Family Services
  • New Haven Family Alliance/Male Involvement Network
  • Family Liaison- Birth To Three
  • Associate Clinical Professor- Yale Child Study Center
  • Primary Prevention Coordinator- DCF
  • Yale/Mom’s Partnership
  • Wellness Coordinator for Project Launch
  • Supervisor- Child FIRST Program
  • Prevention Primary Services Coordinator- Office of Early Childhood-Family Support Services
  • Family Community Partnership Manager- LULAC Head Start Inc.
  • Nurse- DCF
  • Early Head Start Director- United Way
  • Executive Director- Connecticut Association for Infant Mental Health
  • President- Connecticut Association for Infant Mental Health
  • Senior Early Childhood Consultant-Early Childhood Consultation Partnership (ECCP) Parent Child Resource Center (PCRC)
  • Connecticut-Elm City Project Launch Clinician
  • Court Services Officer- Superior Court/Juvenile Matters
  • Family-Based Recovery Services- Yale Child Study Center
  • Southern Regional Health Coordinator- Department of Social Services
  • Director of Foster and Adoptive Services Unit (FASU)- DCF
  • Program Manager (Treatment)- DCF

Key Barriers to Address:

  • Lack of transportation for biological parents and children to visit
  • Multiple placements
  • Lack of foster parent training in infant mental health
  • An over-abundance of assessments and screenings for families
  • No medical or dental homes for children
  • Service providers working in “silos”

Resources Available for Parents:

  • Child-Parent Psychotherapy
  • Male Involvement Network
  • MOMS Partnership
  • Circle of Security
  • Nurturing Families Network 24/7 Dads
  • Triple P (Positive Parenting Program)
  • Family-Based Recovery
  • Healing Trauma: Strategies for Abused Women

Resources Aailable for Children:

  • MDE (multi-disciplinary evaluation)
  • Birth To Three
  • Project Launch
  • LULAC Head Start
  • Early Head Start

Promising Practices: The ZERO TO THREE Community Coordinator has teamed up with the Project Launch Wellness Coordinator to work on coordinating the many services in New Haven, getting pediatricians involved and determining whether assessments, intakes and screenings can be simplified so that families are not asked to recount their stories multiple times.

Desired Practice Change: The team would like to identify assessments being used by each agency and, if possible, create one assessment that could be shared among all service providers. The team would also like to bring the same level of services that children who are part of the Safe Babies Court Team receive to children in the New Haven Community still residing in the home. By consolidating collaborative meetings that deal with overlapping topics of early childhood and infant mental health, all members of the team can work together on the presenting problems.

Public Events: The Connecticut Association for Infant Mental Health (CT-AIMH) will be holding their Infant Mental Health Training Series for Region 2 (New Haven and Milford). This is an 8-part series offered to DCF staff and their Community Partners. The training will consist of 2 workshops a month for four months starting August 27, 2015 and ending on November 14, 2015.  

Media Activity: The Connecticut Kick-Off meeting was held on June 22, 2015. The event was attended by Congresswoman Rosa DeLauro, ZERO TO THREE Executive Director Matthew Melmed, local community providers, the Commissioner of DCF, and the Commissioner of the Office of Early Childhood. The event was covered by the local media.

Milford Infant-Toddler Court Team

Geographic/Demographic Reach: There are 14 cities involved: New Haven County (13 cities) and Fairfield County (1 city). There are approximately 19,451 children under age 5 from 14 cities, and 14,474 children under age 5 from the 9 towns/cities that report to New Haven Court. There are approximately 44 children under age 3 in foster care in the 14 cities. This area is served by 3 juvenile courts, and only the cases in New Haven are included in the project.

Court Team Members:

  • Department of Children and Families: Area Manager, Program Manager, Supervisor and Workers
  • Court: Court Services Officer
  • Boys & Girls Village: Coordinator of Family Support and Intervention Specialist
  • Bridges of Milford: Director of Home-Based Services, Caregiver Support Team Manager and Clinician
  • Parent Child Resource Center: Child First Clinical Director, Triple P Parent Educator/Coordinator, ECCP Consultant
  • r’Kids: Clinical Director
  • Birth To Three: Interventionist
  • Naugatuck Valley Health District: Public Health Nurse
  • Young Parents Program: Executive Director
  • Family Centered Services: Clinical Director
  • Clifford Beers: Project Launch Coordinator, Child First Clinical Director
  • Visiting Nurse Association, South Central Connecticut (VNA/SCC) Nurturing Families Network: Program Manager/Clinical Supervisor
  • East Haven Family Resource Center: Parent Educator
  • East Shore Health District Dept.: Home Visitor
  • BHCare Umbrella Center for Domestic Violence Services: Child Advocate
  • Area Cooperative Educational Services (ACES) Early Childhood Services: Partnership Manager
  • Office of Early Childhood: Primary Prevention Services Coordinator
  • State of Connecticut Birth To Three: Family Liaison
  • Maternal, Infant, and Early Childhood Home Visiting (MIECHV)/Early Head Start: Manager

Key Barriers to Address: The need for foster parent/kinship training on infant mental health, lack of transportation to accommodate 2-3 visits a week

Resources Available for Parents: Child-Parent Psychotherapy (CPP), Family Resource Centers, Caregiver Support, Special Supplemental Nutrition Program for Women, Infants, and Children (WIC), Care for Kids, inpatient and outpatient substance abuse and mental health tx, community support for families, visitation and reunification services, domestic violence support/tx, Fathering Support-24/7 Dads

Resources Available for Children: Ages and Stages Questionnaire-developmental and social/emotional, Birth To Three developmental assessment and services, social play groups

Promising Practices: Milford DCF staff continued to implement the Safe Babies Court Teams approach in the absence of a Community Coordinator from November 2014 through May 2015. They have also expanded to arrange for increased visitation and CPP referrals to cases in other courts besides New Haven.  Additional CPP trainings are being held.

Desired Practice Change: Streamline referral processes and reduce the number of individual providers involved with families; foster care placements for infants and toddlers that are closer to their biological parents' homes; ability to utilize Permanency Placement Services Program (PPSP) providers for transportation; and increase the number of completed Parent-Child Assessments.

Media Activity: The Connecticut Kick-Off meeting was held on June 22, 2015. The event was attended by Congresswoman Rosa DeLauro, ZERO TO THREE Executive Director Matthew Melmed, local community providers, the Commissioner of DCF, and the Commissioner of the Office of Early Childhood. The event was covered by the local media.