Reversing the Odds: Improving Outcomes for Babies in the Child Welfare System

Author: Sheryl Dicker

Format: Paperback, 216 pages, 6.0 x 9.0
ISBN: 9781557669612
Price: $32.95

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Babies and young children in the child welfare system have a high prevalence for physical, cognitive, and social-emotional delays—and often don't have access to the services and supports that could make all the difference. This is the book that will help professionals go beyond abuse prevention and ensure comprehensive healthy development of these vulnerable children from birth to age 3.

Demystifying the world of child welfare, this book shows early childhood practitioners how to successfully navigate this complex system and collaborate with a wide range of other professionals to meet young children's needs. Readers will

  • discover what new brain research says about the importance of effective early intervention and consistent caregiving in the earliest years of life
  • see how the current system works by tracing several children's journeys through child welfare and juvenile court
  • help fulfill the promise of new laws related to child welfare, health care, and early intervention and education
  • understand the juvenile court's powerful potential to influence young children's healthy development
  • help improve access to coordinated, consistent health care for young children in the child welfare system
  • work to make early intervention screening universal and services readily available to young children and families
  • make the most of early childhood education as a portal to school readiness, social-emotional development, and overall well-being

To help them make a real difference in the lives of young children, readers will get in-depth, real-life case examples that illustrate strong collaborations among the child welfare, legal, health care, early intervention, and early childhood education systems. They'll see how other professionals are working together to fully address children's needs, and they'll have detailed models they can use to forge their own effective partnerships with professionals from other systems.

Essential reading for a broad range of early childhood professionals and decision-makers, this book will help readers reverse the odds for young children in the child welfare system—and set the stage for lifelong physical, developmental and emotional health.


Review by: Stefi Rubin, Families in Society: The Journal of Contemporary Social Services

"Dicker brings an invaluable and unique point of view as someone attuned to the complexities of bureaucracies and to the moral responsibilty to faithfully enact laws that protect the rights of young children. Her tenacity exemplifies what life-long commitment to social justice looks like ... an enlightening book, surely to be recognized as the seminal text on this issue."

Review by: James Cox, The Midwest Book Review Social Issues Shelf

"A must read for anyone who wants to be prepared to face off against the bureaucratic and legal gauntlet of child welfare services."

Review by: Judge Leonard Edwards, Judge-in-Residence, California Administrative Office of the Courts, Center for Families, Children & the Courts, San Francisco, CA

"A powerful statement on why we must take much better care of our most vulnerable children—the infants who come to the attention of our child welfare agencies and juvenile courts. Using true stories that demonstrate successful and unsuccessful community responses . . . Ms. Dicker points the way to better outcomes for these children.""

Review by: Robert Schwartz, Executive Director, Juvenile Law Center, Philadelphia, PA

"Draws on the latest research, rich case studies, and Dicker's years of experience to show the field how it can meet the health care needs of young children who have suffered in systems that are supposed to help them."

Review by: Susan Chinitz, Albert Einstein College of Medicine

"Provides a compelling review of the multiple risks and adversities traversed by infants and young children in the child welfare system, an inspirational vision of the outcomes that can be achieved by improved policies and practices, and a roadmap for getting there."

Review by: Joy Osofsky, Professor of Pediatrics and Psychiatry, Louisiana State University Health Sciences Center

"Eloquently expresses the need to raise awareness about the needs of young children in the child welfare system and provides an important message of prevention and early intervention."

Review by: Dan Hughes, Psychologist and author of Building the Bonds of Attachment, Second Edition, and Attachment-Focused Family Therapy, Quittie Glen Center for Mental Health, Annville, Pennsylvania

"Comprehensive and valuable . . . well documents the scope of the problem as well as the current research and laws in place that can be utilized in addressing this ongoing and complex national crisis."

Table of Contents

About the Author
Foreword: Carol H. Rasco

I. Sounding the Alarm: Background and Overview

  1. Why the Odds Must Be Reversed for Young Children in the Child Welfare System
  2. The History of Young Children in the Child Welfare System
  3. A Child's Journey Through the Child Welfare System

II. The Promise of Research and the Law

  1. Promising New Research
  2. Powerful New Laws

III. Portals for Healthy Development: The Case Studies

  1. Using the Courts as a Portal for Healthy Development: The New York Case Study
  2. Using Health Care as a Portal for Healthy Development: The Arkansas Case Study
  3. Using the Portal of Early Intervention for Healthy Development: The Philadelphia Case Study
  4. Unlocking A New Portal for Healthy Development: Early Childhood Education

IV. Conclusion

  1. Putting the Pieces Together: One Jurisdiction at One Point in Time


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