For Gerard Costa, Early Childhood, Elementary and Literacy Education professor and director of the Center for Autism and Early Childhood Mental Health at Montclair State University, nothing matters more than a child’s emotional, interpersonal and physical well-being.
“I have an impassioned wish to make a difference for infants and children,” he says. A noted thought leader in the field, Costa recently developed a video podcast for Family Court judges that he hopes will encourage much-needed changes in New Jersey’s visitation practices for children in out-of-home placements. “Actual intervention and how removal occurs can be a traumatic event in the lives of both children and their families,” he notes.
Produced by Advocates for Children of New Jersey with funding from a federal Children in Court Improvement Grant, Costa’s recently released “Visitation Practices and their Impact on Infants, Children and Caregivers: Promoting Security and Stability of Relationships” suggests that consistent, collaborative and caring visitation practices help mitigate the trauma to children who have been removed from their homes and placed in protective care.