Early Childhood Court – Dependency Specialty Court Program

Program Description

The Fifteenth Judicial Circuit's Early Childhood Court (ECC) is a voluntary court program designed to assist families in the dependency system with infants and toddlers (between the ages of 0 – 5). ECC brings together a multidisciplinary team comprised of judicial officers and trained clinicians to support parents, caregivers, and children in the dependency system. ECC strives to improve the safety and well-being of children and promote healthy child development through evidence-based treatments such as Child First and Child-Parent Psychotherapy and referrals to community resources.

In order to enter Early Childhood Court:

  1. Participants must be Palm Beach County residents who are the parent(s) of children between the ages of 0-5 with a new dependency petition;
  2. the case jurisdiction is in Palm Beach County;
  3. the parent(s) must consent to the abuse/neglect allegation(s);
  4. the parent(s) must agree to participate in Early Childhood Court.

Disqualifiers include: Parent with severe uncontrolled mental illness or severe intellectual disability; cases that include egregious act(s) of violence against the child; parent is incarcerated for an extended period of time.

Services Provided

The following are examples of services provided by Early Childhood Court:

  • Case management and family intervention services to assess needs and provide assistance throughout the Court process
  • Monthly family team meetings and court hearings to provide team support and address issues in a timely manner
  • Parents will participate in evidenced based interventions such as Child First or Child-Parent Psychotherapy (CPP) to support and strength the relationship between a child and his or her caregiver
  • Connection to treatment resources and peer supports to promote successful long-term sobriety
  • Subject to the availability of funds: transportation and basic needs assistance; such as gift cards and baby items

Program Location and Hours

Main Judicial Complex
205 North Dixie Highway
West Palm Beach, Florida 33401

Court is held once a month on Monday afternoons.

Cost of Service


For more information view the Early Childhood Court Brochure