What is CourtCare?
CourtCare is free child care for children ages six weeks to 12 years in a safe, supportive, and quality environment. Children are spared from witnessing adult conflict, hearing harsh words, and seeing potentially disturbing scenes which could traumatize or even re-traumatize them. If both parent and child are supported during the child’s early stages of life, it makes an enormous impact on the child’s future health and development. What children see and experience in early childhood affects both their brain development and their health.
Why is CourtCare Needed?
Imagine having to go to court for divorce proceedings, a sex abuse trial, a domestic violence case… now imagine not having child care and you have to take your young children with you. This is a current reality for families in both Marion and Polk Counties. Children should not have to be in the room while legal proceedings are taking place. Those involved in the courts have seen babies and toddlers left unattended in hallways while their parents are in courtrooms; young children sent to restrooms unsupervised; children seeing their parents upset and emotional about adult conflicts; children watching as a parent is arrested and taken into custody; children hearing adults talking about family violence, restraining orders, custody disputes, or criminal behavior of family members… thus the need for CourtCare.
Mid-Valley CourtCare provides free, high quality care from trained early childhood staff in a licensed child care setting. Children must be at least six weeks of age and not older than 12 years. CourtCare hours of operation listed here are beginning September 5, 2017. Space is limited and available on a first-come, first-serve basis. Register online now to reserve your spot!
In Marion County, CourtCare is operated by the Salem Family YMCA, located across from the Marion County Courthouse in downtown Salem. Please use the child care entrance off of Cottage Street. Marion County CourtCare is available to anyone with court-related business or a court-related appointment. Marion County CourtCare will operate Monday through Thursday from 8:00 a.m. to 5:15 p.m.
In Polk County, CourtCare is operated by Family Building Blocks at the Academy Building near the Polk County Courthouse in Dallas. Polk County CourtCare is available to anyone who needs to conduct business with the court system or local social service agencies including, but not limited to: Polk County Behavioral Health, Public Health, DHS, or Housing. Polk County CourtCare will operate Tuesday and Thursday from 1:00 to 5:30 p.m., and Wednesday from 7:30 a.m. to 5:30 p.m.
Before the concept of CourtCare was formed, hundreds of children each year were brought into courtrooms and witnessed any number of sensitive or graphic proceedings. In this environment, they witness life’s harshest realities, sense the stress and fear around them, and often, understandably, pull parental and judicial attention away from the proceedings by causing disruptions to the overflowing system dockets.
Other court systems around the country provide CourtCare programs and services. California, New York, and Pennsylvania were pioneers in providing CourtCare services. Subsequently, other states have followed their lead. CourtCare has successfully operated in Multnomah County since 2001 and a second CourtCare facility is now open in the East County Courthouse. In Washington state, King County offers a CourtCare program to parents appearing in court.
CourtCare provides the opportunity for everyone to have equal access to our court system by providing care for children while parents and guardians are transacting legal business. Mid-Valley CourtCare fills a community need. Read more about CourtCare in Marion County.
Mid-Valley CourtCare provides free, quality child care in a safe, licensed, and nurturing environment so parents or guardians can attend court proceedings.
Today we accept that early childhood experiences impact brain growth and development and those experiences are evidenced by a child’s ability to cope with social, emotional, and intellectual challenges as an adult. CourtCare offers a child a nurturing, safe place away from adult stress and conflict, intervening at a critical point to protect the child.
CourtCare prevents children from witnessing tense and disturbing court proceedings. CourtCare protects children, permits caregivers to focus on court-related business, and reduces disruptions in the courtroom.