The Strong Starts Court Initiative: Infant/toddler courts in New York City and State

Map Unavailable

Date(s) - April 14
9:00 am - 12:00 pm


The New York State Association for Infant Mental Health is very pleased to offer…

An important workshop:

“The Strong Starts Court Initiative: Infant/toddler courts  in New York City and State”

Wednesday, April 14th

9 am – Noon

On Zoom – You can connect from anywhere!


More than 16,000 infants and toddlers across New York State are subjects of child protection cases alleging their neglect or abuse.  These very young children contend with multiple adversities during the most foundational stage of development, and they often enter a child welfare system that has little expertise in infancy and early childhood, or evidence-backed interventions in the infant/family field.


Presenters, Kiran Malpe, LMSW, and Susan Chinitz, PsyD, will share the work of the Strong Starts Court Initiative, a collaborative and highly successful response in the Family Court.


The Strong Starts project builds the knowledge base of judges and attorneys in early development, infant mental health, and effective interventions for infants and caregivers.  It also provides a collaborative, problem-solving court process, delivers responsive and trauma-informed support to the children, their parents and alternate caregivers, and facilitates access to high-quality clinical and family support services, including infant-parent relational supports.  Results of program evaluation show significant benefits to child welfare system practitioners and to children and families, and provide a strong rationale for expansion of infant toddler courts across New York City and State.

This workshop will include small group discussions and case examples.

Participants will learn:

  • Components of infant/toddler court models across the country and in New York City
  • How Strong Starts began, including planning, and growth over time
  • How court involvement can be a port of entry into high quality clinical and family support services
  • How infant/toddler courts protect and repair children’s important relationships and prevent attachment disruptions
  • Impact of infant/toddler courts including evaluation studies of Strong Starts and others around the country


KIRAN MALPE, LMSW is a Licensed Social Worker who has been practicing since 2003 after graduating from Columbia University School of Social Work.  Ms. Malpe has a Bachelor’s degree in Psychology from New York University and Early Childhood Education Certification from San Francisco State University.  Ms. Malpe has a wide array of experience in the Social Work field, in particular, involving her passion for Child Welfare Reform and prevention of maltreatment to children, including working in Foster Care, Child Protection, and Preventive Services.  She was the Director of a Supportive Housing Project for Medically Fragile Families and also helped plan for, design and implement one of the first Community Based Social Services Programs within a Primary Care Setting in a rural area of Ireland.  Ms. Malpe has extensive experience in Early Childhood Education and Early Development as she was a Pre-School teacher who went on to become an Assistant Director in a Head Start/Early Head Start Program in East Harlem.  Ms. Malpe has specialized training in Infant Mental Health and Child-Parent Psychotherapy (CPP) and was a Child Development Specialist/Clinician at the Early Childhood Center at Albert Einstein’s College of Medicine prior to taking on her current role as Clinical Director of the Strong Starts Court Initiative (SSCI).   Strong Starts Court Initiative is a specialized Family Court approach developed to meet the needs of very young children during the foundational stage of development.  It does this by focusing on the infant’s need for protection and secure attachment, and by considering all child welfare practices through the lens of promoting healthy development and a solid foundation for infant mental health. SSCI has been operating in the Bronx Family Court since July 2015, the Queens Family Court since 2016, the Staten Island Family Court since 2018, and is scheduled to begin in Brooklyn in 2021.

Susan Chinitz, PsyD, IMH-E® is a psychologist with specialties in the areas of infant mental health and developmental disabilities in infancy and early childhood.  She is the former Director of the Early Childhood Center and the Center for Babies, Toddlers and Families, therapeutic programs for children birth to five years of age at the Albert Einstein College of Medicine, where she was a Professor of Clinical Pediatrics and the Patricia T. and Charles S. Raizen Distinguished Scholar in Pediatrics.  Dr. Chinitz is currently affiliated with the Center for Court Innovation where she is spearheading the Strong Starts Court Initiative, an effort to integrate developmental science into Family Court practice for infants and toddlers.  She is also a consultant to the New York Center for Child Development, and Clinical Co-Director of the Training and Technical Assistance Center for the NYC Early Childhood Mental Health Network.  Dr. Chinitz is on the Board of the New York Zero to Three Network and the Community Advisory Board of the NYC Nurse Family Partnership and was previously on the Local Coordinating Council for the NYC Early Intervention Program.  She has developed models of infant mental health service provision and developmental supports for children in primary pediatrics, preschool and childcare programs, and within the child welfare system. She has received the ACS Commissioner’s Child Advocacy Award, Women of Achievement Award from the Bronx Women’s Bar Association, and the Distinguished Alumni Award from the Ferkauf Graduate School of Psychology, Yeshiva University.




Early Bird Registration!

(before 3/14/21)

Regular Registration

(after 3/14/21)

NYS-AIMH Member $65 $70
Non-Member $75 $80
Student $35 $40



Registration closes Friday, April 9, 2021

Cancelation Policy

No refund can be made for cancellation seven or fewer working days before the event or for no-shows.  Cancellations more than seven working days before a workshop will result in a refund, less a $15.00 cancellation fee.  Requests for refunds must be received in writing.


All registered participants will be notified via email if there is a training/workshop cancellation.  Registered participants will be offered a full refund or registration in another offered training/workshop.

Organizational NYS-AIMH Members

We welcome all organizations that share our mission of supporting the mental health of young children.

Scroll to Top