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Introducing Safe Babies, ZERO TO THREE’s New Era in Transforming Child Welfare

New name and visual identity reflect focus on upstream prevention, strengthening child and family well-being to reduce child welfare involvement

Victor Leyba
[email protected]
(202) 857-2604

Washington, DC – April 26, 2023– ZERO TO THREE, the country’s leading nonprofit dedicated to ensuring babies and toddlers have a strong start in life, today announced a new name and visual identity for its field-leading program addressing child welfare in the U.S.: Safe Babies, formerly known as the Safe Babies Court Team approach. The brand refresh marks a new era for the program with an expanded focus on upstream prevention, providing support before crisis occurs to eliminate the need for children to be removed from their homes and promotes early childhood systems and policy changes that ultimately strengthen families.

“For nearly two decades, ZERO TO THREE has been at the forefront of transforming the child welfare system into one that prioritizes the well-being of children and families,” said Matthew Melmed, Executive Director of ZERO TO THREE. “Safe Babies is rising to the challenge of supporting parents and their youngest children at a crucial time. During the first three years of a child’s life, their brains develop faster than at any other point, supporting their cognitive, emotional and physical development. To build those strong foundations, we must dismantle obstacles that stand in the way of families, allowing them to focus on what matters: strengthening the bonds between parent and child. With Safe Babies, we can create a better today for all babies and a brighter future for generations to come.”

Of the 7.2 million children in the U.S. referred to child protective services, children under the age of 3 enter the child welfare system more than any other age group. Safe Babies is a national support network that ignites collective action across systems in states and local communities to meet the urgent needs of babies and toddlers at risk of removal from their families, under court jurisdiction and in out-of-home care. Its team-based approach uses the science of early childhood development to strengthen child/parent relationships and ensure every baby is thriving in a loving, nurturing and safe home.

The program’s evidence-informed approach has demonstrated success in keeping families together. Safe Babies is now expanding their vision by implementing it across the country. Nearly two-thirds of babies and toddlers supported by the program are reunified with their parent or family member, with 93 percent of babies and toddlers placed permanently within a year (double the national standard.) Additionally, less than one percent of maltreatment reoccurs within 12 months (compared to the national standard of nine percent.)

“We include parents as leaders in our work, honoring their lived experience and resilience. Our goal is to reframe the narrative from individual parent responsibility to our shared responsibility to build coordinated and equitable social conditions,” said Janie Huddleston, Safe Babies National Director.

We all have a stake and role in the outcomes that will make a positive, lasting difference and must acknowledge and respond as a community to the systemic stressors families experience in order to reduce involvement with child welfare. – Janie Huddleston

Safe Babies is committed to connecting with families through integrated early childhood systems that provide timely and equitable supports to meet the unique needs of babies, toddlers and their families. The program currently has 124 sites in 28 states, with the aim of expanding across the U.S. with sites in every state.

Safe Babies has recently introduced resources that provide insight into the program’s focus on promotion and prevention, the efficacy of its approach and information for parents, professionals and community partners invested in the health and well-being of the nation’s babies and toddlers. For more information on Safe Babies, visit zerotothree.org/SafeBabies.

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