Building a Better World for Babies
Babies’ worlds are full of wonder and joy, as they play, explore, and communicate with the important people in their lives. This is the life we hope to create for babies and it describes the experiences of most. Yet recent reports remind us that some struggle with the effects of abuse and neglect. Children from birth to three continue to be the age group most likely to be maltreated.1 Most of these maltreated babies are under age one, and more than 1/3 were harmed during their first week of life.2 In addition to the negative and sometimes lasting impact on development, health, and mental health3, child abuse costs this country a conservatively estimated $103.8 billion each year.4
This data highlights the importance of responding to child maltreatment and its impact on very young children and their families. ZERO TO THREE is among those actively addressing this issue. The entire community can play a role in supporting families and reducing the risk that very young children will be maltreated. ZERO TO THREE’s 2006 - 2009 State Partnerships for Prevention project focused on building capacity to engage the child care community in promoting healthy parent-child relationships and helping prevent maltreatment of infants and toddlers. The new Promoting Responsive Relationships project will focus on impacting practice in child care to help prevent maltreatment in families with young children. Interested states and communities can become involved by contacting the Center for Training Services.
While infants are disproportionately impacted by child maltreatment, often their developmental and mental health needs are unrecognized and unmet by child welfare agencies. ZERO TO THREE’s Court Teams for Maltreated Infants and Toddlers project emphasizes the development of a coordinated response to very young children in foster care, in order to improve their immediate and long-term outcomes. ZERO TO THREE’s Policy Center addresses issues concerning maltreated infants and toddlers with briefs and papers geared toward those who influence federal, state and local policy for infants and their families.
1Department of Health and Human Services (2008). Child maltreatment 2006. Retreived on 4-9-2008
2CDC (2008). Nonfatal maltreatment of infants United States, October, 2005 September 2006. Retrieved on 4/4/2008
3Child Welfare Information Gateway (2006). Long term consequences of child abuse and neglect. Retrieved on 4-11-2008
4Wang, C.T. & Holton, J. (2007). Estimated costs of child maltreatment, retrieved on 2/25/2008
Engaging Child Care Providers in Partnering with Families to Reduce the Risk of Maltreatment
Training for Trainers Preventing Child Abuse and Neglect: Parent-Provider Partnerships in Child Care. Learn concepts, skills and approaches for training child care providers to support families in ways that reduce the stresses that contribute to child maltreatment. Click here.
Meeting the Needs of Maltreated Infants and Toddlers
Healing the Youngest Children; Model Court-Community Partnerships describes four model court-community partnerships. Practice tips are featured for communities interested in implementing similar projects. Learn more.
Young children in foster care need to see their parents or other primary caregivers as often as possible. These visits permit the parent and child to build their relationship. Visitation with Infants and Toddlers in Foster Care discusses the importance of meaningful visits between a child in out-of-home care and his or her parents and siblings.
Helping Babies from the Bench; Using the Science of Early Childhood Development in Court is a DVD describing the consequences of abuse and neglect on its victims. The DVD offers examples of successful interventions.
Click here for more information.
Trauma and Young Children: Books to support practitioners working with young children and their families who have been impacted by trauma and violence.
Click here for additional resources on child maltreatment and very young children.