The Hagerman Foundation sees the family unit playing a paramount role when it comes to mental, physical, and spiritual wellbeing of children. Unfortunately, not all families are equipped with the tools to support their infants and toddlers. In fact, many of our youngest enter foster care after the trauma of abuse or neglect. “Baby Court “is a specialized docket within the judicial system that provides mental health services for infants and toddlers under the jurisdiction of family court.
Baby Court of Genesee County falls under the jurisdiction of the Honorable, David Newblatt. “Creating effective ‘silver buckshot’ in family court starts with a recognition of three truths. First, early childhood experiences, both good and bad, have an outsized effect on lifelong well-being and functionality. Second, the single biggest threat is from trauma, so it is imperative to both prevent it and treat its impact. Finally, we get better results with collaborative wraparound models, when families trust and are invested in the process,“ said Judge Newblatt in a self-authored New York Times article regarding Baby Court. (For full article: Baby Court Offers Hope for Families in Crisis)
Baby Court is an example of a collaborative wraparound service. Coordinated by an infant mental health specialist, families receive counseling services, parenting classes, and time to practice what they’ve learned during parent/child playgroups lead by their infant mental health specialist. Multiple agencies come together with one goal in mind: to rebuild and ultimately reunify the family unit.
“You truly don’t understand the impact these agencies are having on families until you witness it first-hand in Judge Newblatt’s courtroom,” said Becky Foerster, executive director, The Hagerman Foundation. “They are focusing on the baby’s best interests and looking at every angle to support and help the family unit.”