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Understanding and Meeting the Needs of Birth Parents. Highlights from Changing the Course for Infants and Toddlers: A Survey of State Child Welfare Policies and Initiatives


This brief highlights the findings of the Survey of State Child Welfare Agency Initiatives for Maltreated Infants and Toddlers, conducted from September 2012 to March 2013, that asked State child welfare agency representatives to respond to questions regarding the policies and practices that guide their work in addressing the needs of infants and toddlers who have been maltreated. The survey’s goal was to identify and share innovations in policy and practice, and highlight key challenges, gaps, and barriers that child welfare agencies across the country face in meeting the needs of very young children who have experienced maltreatment. Forty-six states participated in the survey. Three broad themes emerged from analysis of survey responses: fewer than half of States have policies requiring that birth parents be offered services and supports to overcome their own trauma, mental health, substance abuse, and domestic violence issues; States lack training for parents on when to seek Part C Early Intervention services for young children; and States lack clear policies related to services to improve the interaction between birth parents and their children who are in foster care. Recommendations for State child welfare agencies are made. 7 references.