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:
- 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;
- the case jurisdiction is in Palm Beach County;
- the parent(s) must consent to the abuse/neglect allegation(s);
- 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.
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