Invited Symposia

Pregnancy: the starting place in understanding lifelong mental health

Pregnancy is a time of importance for maternal and foetal health including the opportunity to influence offspring life mental health outcomes. As such pregnancy represents one of the earliest opportunities for the prevention and early intervention of infant and early childhood mental health. This symposium will present leading and diverse research from members of the Marce Society examining the importance of pregnancy on infant and child mental health.


The Safe Babies Court Team™ Model: A Multidisciplinary Approach to Support Abused and Neglected Infants, Toddlers, and Families

Every 6 minutes in the United States an infant or toddler is removed from their parents’ home due to abuse or neglect, making up the largest group of children entering foster care. Over the past decade, ZERO TO THREE has developed the Safe Babies Court Team™ approach to address the significant needs of maltreated babies and toddlers entering the child welfare system. This collaborative multidisciplinary program with judicial leadership is designed to support the health, mental health, and developmental needs of babies and toddlers who have been removed from their parents due to abuse and neglect and to expedite their returning to safe, nurturing homes as quickly as possible. The young child and parents are provided a continuum of mental health services including an evaluation of Adverse Childhood Experiences (ACEs), individual and relationship-based therapy. During this symposium, the impact of abuse and neglect on young children and the response of the child welfare system in the United States will be described, the SBCT approach elaborated including ways to engage biological and foster families, and the role of developmentally and trauma-informed clinicians as part of the multidisciplinary court team. Outcome data related to the effectiveness of the model will be presented.

Jane Huddleston


Brenda Jones Harden, Ph.D.

MSW, Alison Richman Professor for Children and Families, University of Maryland

Darneshia Allen