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Chief Judge

Elijah Smiley

Christopher N. Patterson

Bay County

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Joe Grammer

Joe Grammer

Bay County

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Circuit Judges

Brantley S. Clark, Jr.

Brantley S. Clark, Jr.

Bay County

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Early Childhood Court (ECC), also referred to as "Baby Court," is a problem-solving court that serves children under the age of three who are involved in the child welfare system. The goal of ECC is to improve safety, permanency, and well-being outcomes for infants and toddlers. Brain development happens at a faster rate during the first five years of a child's life than at any subsequent developmental stage. Children under the age of five are also the most vulnerable population in child welfare, as they make up the largest number of children removed for abuse, neglect, and abandonment.

The ECC program differs from traditional Dependency Court in that the approach utilizes a multidisciplinary team comprised of numerous community providers. Each month, Family Team Meetings are held that consist of child welfare professionals, mental health therapists, substance abuse providers, caregivers, parents, parent's counsel, and GAL. Family team meetings give families the opportunity to celebrate strengths and troubleshoot barriers and struggles with the team in a non-adversarial, trauma-responsive environment. At the center of the ECC approach is strong judicial leadership that creates a specialized docket to review each case monthly. The Fourteenth Judicial Circuit's program has served over 200 children since its inception in 2015.

In March 2021, C14 collaborated with FSU on a film titled Hope and Healing that was featured at Florida's All Sites Training. This film was also accepted to be shown at the American Public Health Association's film festival.



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Upcoming Holidays:

Monday, May 27, 2024 - Memorial Day


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