2021 Safe Babies Report

Safe Babies Program Evaluation ReportEvery year, the Texas Institute for Child & Family Wellbeing partners with child welfare practitioners at First3Years to evaluate permanency and wellbeing outcomes through the Safe Babies program.

In the 2021 Safe Babies report, we found that infants and toddlers across Texas experienced faster permanency and increased reunification through participation in the program.

Key findings:
  • Birth parents and caregivers noted Safe Babies’ support for coparenting, especially in helping them build trust and communication. Professionals demonstrated an understanding of the impact of coparenting between birth parents and caregivers on a child’s wellbeing.
  • Professionals demonstrated a strong alliance in supporting families and an understanding of the relationship between attachment, early development, and placement.
  • Birth parents, caregivers, and professionals reported that the COVID-19 pandemic posed major challenges to navigating the child welfare system, and birth parents reported that Safe Babies helped them overcome pandemic-related hurdles.
  • Many professional interviewees reflected on recent changes to the historically adoption-driven narrative in the child welfare system, with more caregivers and professionals supporting family preservation or reunification when possible.
  • Caregivers and professionals involved with Safe Babies generally reported positive perceptions about birth parents, with room for improvement in their perceptions of parents experiencing mental health or domestic violence issues.
  • Time to permanence was significantly shorter for infants and toddlers in Safe Babies than for infants and toddlers who were not in Safe Babies.
  • Ahigher percentage of infants and toddlers in Safe Babies returned home than infants and toddlers who were not in Safe Babies.
Read the evaluation report and brief:

Safe Babies Evaluation Report
Safe Babies Evaluation Brief

If you are having trouble accessing the report, please email Kaitlyn Doerge at kaitlyn.doerge@austin.utexas.edu.