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Arkansas Department of Human Services Receives Program Development Grant from ZERO TO THREE to Expand Infant-Toddler Court Teams

01/27/2021

Little Rock, AR – The Arkansas Department of Human Services’ (DHS) Division of Children and Family Services (DCFS) has received a grant of $425,000 to expand its efforts to use the science of early childhood development to meet the urgent needs of infants and toddlers. Arkansas was one of only three states in the nation awarded this grant opportunity.

The ZERO TO THREE National Resource Center for Infant-Toddler Court program awarded the grant to allow Arkansas to expand its existing partnership with the Safe Babies Court Team™ (SBCT) approach. This program connects very young children and their families with needed supports and services, with a goal of advancing health and well-being. The target population is children birth to three years old under court jurisdiction, who are in foster care or at risk of removal, and their families.

With funding from the Health Resources and Services Administration (HRSA)’s Maternal and Child Health Bureau, the NRC has the ambitious vision of improving outcomes for all child welfare-involved young children and families. The goal is to dramatically reduce the number of babies and toddlers removed from their families, restore and strengthen family relationships, and create positive futures for those who enter foster care. The grant is part of $3,050,000 in new program development grant awards to states and local communities across the country.

“We are excited about and grateful for this grant funding,” noted Mischa Martin, DCFS Director. “Safe Babies is an effective approach to improving outcomes for children and families. Results show that children are reaching permanency three times faster than infants and toddlers in the general foster care population. Almost two-thirds of those served by Safe Babies teams find permanent homes with members of their families while only one-third of infants and toddlers in the general population exit foster care to family members.”

DCFS will receive the state expansion grant of $425,000 to work with the NRC to support statewide implementation and sustainability of infant-toddler court teams applying the SBCT approach and launch three new infant-toddler court team sites.  

DCFS already partners with the Safe Babies Court Team™ in Pulaski County, and DCFS intends to use the new grant funds to expand the Safe Babies Court Team™ program into three additional counties – Benton, Jefferson, and Sebastian.

To learn more about the Safe Babies Court Team™ approach, click here.

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About ZERO TO THREE

ZERO TO THREE works to ensure all babies and toddlers benefit from the family and community connections critical to their well-being and development. Since 1977, the organization has advanced the proven power of nurturing relationships by transforming the science of early childhood into helpful resources, practical tools and responsive policies for millions of parents, professionals and policymakers. For more information, and to learn how to become a ZERO TO THREE member, please visit zerotothree.org, facebook.com/zerotothree, or follow @zerotothree on Twitter.

Media Contacts:

Amy Webb
Chief of Communications
amy.webb@dhs.arkansas.gov

Marci Manley
Deputy Chief of Communications
marci.manley@dhs.arkansas.gov

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