Janie Huddleston has led ZERO TO THREE’s Safe Babies work since 2014. Since then, the program has impacted countless families and is literally transforming the child welfare system across the country.
In her previous work with the Arkansas Department of Human Services, Janie saw what happened to infants and toddlers who did not get the support they needed or have secure attachments to caregivers. That’s why she decided to spend the next part of her career promoting the healthy development of young children.
And the approach works. Babies and toddlers involved with Safe Babies reach permanency three times faster than those in the general foster care population. Reminiscing on the program’s accomplishments thus far, she recalls a number of parents who doubted their ability to navigate the system and reunify their family before being involved with Safe Babies. Parents’ reactions when they receive the news their children are coming home are one of her biggest motivators.
I think we are learning that parents are our biggest champions. We are working to give them an opportunity to lead and share their lived experience and tell their story in a way that points out the differences between the regular dependency court system they experienced and what we’re doing at Safe Babies.
Meet one of our Safe Babies parent leaders in the story below.