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Healing the Child in Juvenile Court: Applying an Infant Mental Health Approach. Joy D. Osofsky, Ph.D. LSU Health Sciences Center, New Orleans In collaboration with Judge Cindy Lederman 11 th Circuit Juvenile Court, Miami University of Oregon Law School, March, 2006.
Joy D. Osofsky, Ph.D.
LSU Health Sciences Center, New Orleans
In collaboration with Judge Cindy Lederman
11th Circuit Juvenile Court, Miami
University of Oregon Law School, March, 2006
Committee on Integrating
the Science of Early Childhood Development
Board on Children, Youth, and Families
Institute of Medicine
National Research Council
From Neurons to Neighborhoods,2000
In toddlers/ preschoolers
that contribute to baby’s
The Infant Health and Development ProgramAn 8 site clinical trial designed to evaluate the efficacy of comprehensive early intervention in reducing developmental and health problems in low birth weight, premature infants
15 year longitudinal study of the effects of early childhood interventions on educational achievement and juvenile arrest
Reynolds, Temple Robertson and Mann,
JAMA, May 9, 2001
(10.6 vs. 10.2)
(16.9% vs. 25.1%)
Olds, et al. 1997, 1998, 2002, 2004
“The children of this family have been exposed to chronic emotional neglect and are experiencing symptoms of depression, emotional impoverishment and low self-esteem, low academic achievement and aggression. There are strong indications that they have been exposed to long term family and community violence.”
Pre and post observational measures of the infant-caregiver relationship indicated important improvements in both parental sensitivity to the children and in the children’s emotional responsiveness and behaviors.Parent Effectiveness
95% improved relationship with baby
83% positive changes in child
77% improved parenting
73% improved family life
Of the first 59 children involved in this project, it is important to note that the mothers had a total of156children and the fathers had a total of 138children.
No further abuse or neglect reports in 100% of the cases.
100% rate of reunification
It includes our attachment and bonding experience in the first 18 months of life, as well as how exploration and aggressiveness were handles during toddler hood (terrible two’s) and how we learned self-control or self-regulation of impulses by the time we turned five and went to kindergarten.
Because it is not until school that most of the problems show up on the radar screen. For a few of the most severe, we can spot them by age three or four. They are the ones being kicked out of daycare and preschool for uncontrollable behaviors.
But for the majority, we don’t identify them up until they start failing in school, or get involved in the juvenile justice system, or become a teen parent.
However, we are NOT saying that all mental disorders are a result of what happens in the first few year of life. Some mental illnesses are rooted in genetics and/or biochemistry, such as schizophrenia, bipolar disease, and other neurophysiological disorders such as autism.
NOR are we saying that all children who have bad experiences during the 0-3 years “turn into toast” or become criminals. We cannot oversimplify human development. It is complex, transactional, and unique.
What we ARE saying is that the experience and quality of caregiving received by infants and young children during those critical first few years of life when the brain is being wired, so to speak, has long lasting impact on the future of that child.
In Miami there are 1300 day care centers and only 120 are accredited. This is a consistent problem across the country.
DHHS, June 2002