, Press Release

All Things Judicial Profiles New Safe Babies Courts

Pilot programs begin in Brunswick, Durham, Mitchell, New Hanover, and Yancey counties.

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The latest episode of All Things Judicial profiles Safe Babies Court, a new specialty court that aims to reduce the time a child spends in foster care before reaching a safe and permanent home. Guests include Chief District Court Judge J. Corpening, District Court Judge Rebecca Eggers-Gryder, Safe Babies Court State Director Polly Handrahan, and Safe Babies Court State Coordinator Kristin Stout. The panel discusses the need for Safe babies Court, how it works, and the impact the Court is already having in communities across the state.

"We are on the precipice of changing lives forever by changing a baby's life, changing a family's life, and making it less likely that the family will intersect with child welfare again," said Judge Corpening on the podcast. "That makes our communities healthier, better, and safer. This is really significant work."

North Carolina is engaged in a three-year pilot process that will begin implementation in Brunswick, Durham, Mitchell, New Hanover, and Yancey counties over the next year. The goal of Safe Babies Court is to improve the long-term well-being of children ages birth to three (or five in some areas), and their families, in the child welfare system. This program connects babies and their families with intensive support designed to promote healthy child development while working to ensure a safe exit from foster care as soon as possible. The process results in frequent court contact and family decision-making meetings for parents, the child's representatives or caretakers, and court personnel.