About Providing Emotional Support for Children under the Jurisdiction of Dependency Court

Use of Teddy Bears In Court:

At the initial interview between the child and his/her attorney, the attorney presents a Teddy Bear to the child and lets the
child know that the Bear now belongs to the child. This act of giving "breaks the ice" and helps the attorney establish rapport
with the child. The attorney is also able to use the Teddy Bear as an object on which the child is able to point out the places of
alleged abuse rather than use his/her own body.

While the child awaits his or her hearing in the waiting room or in Shelter Care, the child may keep the Teddy Bear close to his/her side.
Thus, the Bear is an on-going reminder that an adult cares about the child.

When the child is escorted from Shelter Care to the Courtroom for the arraignment and detention hearing, the Teddy Bear is something to
hold onto as a source of security. The hearing is a mysterious experience for children and seeing a parent for the first time in
seventy-two hours is a very emotional experience. The Teddy Bear is an "emotional anchor" for the child during this most difficult time.

After the hearing, the child is usually allowed to have a monitored visit with the parents. Again, the Teddy Bear is a source of security as
well as a "content neutral" object about which to have a conversation.

After the court hearing, the child may be taken to an "out-of-home placement." Again, the Teddy Bear is a source of emotional support and
a reminder that an adult, with obvious authority, has given the child something of value.

The Bench Officers use the Teddy Bears to help the children, too. When testifying, the child may use a Teddy Bear to show where
the alleged abuse took place. If the Court sees that a child is crying, during any of the hearings, time is taken to make sure that the child
is comforted by his or her attorney and the Court makes sure that the child has a Teddy Bear.

The focus of Comfort for Court Kids®, Inc. has been to provide emotional support for the children while they go through the court process;
the act of giving the children a brand new Teddy Bear sends a message to the children that even though they have been abused,
they are worthwhile children and deserve to receive an object that is brand new and that is recognized as a universal symbol of love and affection.

Money for the Teddy Bears is donated by the Superior Court, CiVIC Partnership, Bar Associations, foundations, corporations, law offices,
individual attorneys and the public at large through fund raising activities at the Children's Courthouse as well as in the community.

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