Evaluation of the Early Childhood Courts

In the 2018 legislative session, the Florida Institute for Child Welfare was awarded a contract through the Office of State Courts Administrator to evaluate Florida’s Early Childhood Courts (ECC). The evaluation, conducted through a partnership between the Office of Court Improvement, the Florida Institute for Child Welfare, and University of South Florida College of Public Health Chiles Center for Healthy Women, Children, and Families, will examine the implementation processes and outcomes among ECCs across the state, as well as child and family outcomes. In addition to determining the impact that the ECC model has on recidivism, permanency, and reunification of families, the goal of the evaluation is to track the broader implementation and replication of the ECC model across the state, while identifying successful strategies for implementing the model and challenges encountered during implementation. Recommendations generated from the statewide evaluation will inform program improvements. Another goal of the evaluation is to examine ECC outcomes as compared to traditional dependency court in order to determine in what ways the model may be more effective, efficient, and child and family centered, and whether there is a cost-savings to be gained by using the model.
Figure 1: Florida Early Childhood Court Circuits [link]

The overall evaluation approach is a quasi-experimental comparative analysis contrasting ECC processes and outcomes with regular (quantitative, qualitative, benefit-cost analysis, and case study). All measures are drawn from the literature (previous evaluations of ECC), best practices (national and Florida ECC Standards) and well-established theoretical frameworks, including Community Coalition Action Theory.

Report forthcoming in August 2019.



Published Materials


2018-2019 Early Childhood Court Evaluation

Interim Report to the Office of Court Improvement

  View Report    View Brief


Case Study: SWOT Analysis of the Early Childhood Court (ECC) of Pasco County, Florida

  View Research Brief


An Evaluation of the Early Childhood Court Teams of Escambia (County A) and Okaloosa (County B) Counties

  View Report    View Research Brief    View Presentation


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