As an affiliate of the Alliance for the Advancement of Infant Mental Health,
NJ-AIMH fully supports the following statement:
As part of the global infant/early childhood mental health community, we are committed to deepening conversation and promoting reflection and action to address ongoing bias, structural racism, and racial violence that impacts the health and wellbeing of all our babies and their families.
We believe in the power of relationships to raise a collective voice against racism. We stand in solidarity with communities of color across the nation and the world and commit ourselves to mitigating the chronic trauma that racism has had on generations of children of color, their families, and the infant/early childhood workforce.
We hold in mind parents and caregivers of color who are tasked with protecting and creating a safe space for their babies while also managing their own emotions, as we also hold in mind the infant/early childhood mental health workforce of color who strive to hold and comfort families while managing their own emotions.
We believe that change and healing starts with each one of us. We must intentionally examine the ways we contribute to the continuation or dismantling of racial trauma and structural oppression.
We must respond with purpose and action. Our babies can’t wait.
With hope and love,
Staff and Board of Directors
Alliance for the Advancement of Infant Mental Health
A recent report from the Center for American Progress (CAP) examined U.S. Census Bureau’s National Survey of Children’s Health to better understand the prevalence of ACEs specifically in young children. CAP’s analysis found that more than 1 in 4 young children in the United States have been exposed to at least one ACE. Reflecting the societal patterns of America’s racial bias, the researchers also found that children of color are disproportionately more likely to have exposure to ACEs in early childhood.
A Pandemic within a Pandemic: How Coronavirus and Systemic Racism Are Harming Infants and Toddlers of Color
The Center for Law and Social Policy (CLASP), released a new brief, A Pandemic within a Pandemic: How Coronavirus and Systemic Racism Are Harming Infants and Toddlers of Color, that unpacks the harm of systemic racism to children’s development and describes how the coronavirus pandemic has magnified pervasive inequities in health, education, employment, and other factors across race and ethnicity.
Programs that help families meet their basic needs urgently need immediate shoring up. And policymakers must prioritize families of color who are most harmed by the coronavirus. We make the case for focusing on the needs of families of color with infants and toddlers in coronavirus relief and systemic policy reform efforts to ensure that policies do not continue or add to inequities.
This report captures the lockdown experiences of over 5000 families who responded to an online survey. The findings highlight the lack of support for families and the inequalities of babies’ early experiences. The report includes many case studies and statements from parents.
The evidence is unequivocal that the first 1,001 days of a child’s life, from conception to age two, lay the foundations for a happy and healthy life. Over 200,000 babies were born when lockdown was at its most restrictive, between 23rd March and 4th July. The Parent-Infant Foundation, together with Best Beginnings and Home-Start UK, conducted a survey of families’ experiences of lockdown during their babies’ first 1001 days, the findings of which suggest that the impact of lockdown on some of these babies could be severe and may be long-lasting.
- The report describes the findings of an online survey of 5,474 expectant mothers, new parents, and parents of toddlers, undertaken during the pandemic. It shows that:
- Almost 7 in 10 found their ability to cope with their pregnancy or baby had been impacted as a result of COVID-19
- Nearly 7 in 10 felt the changes brought about by COVID-19 were affecting their unborn baby, baby or young child (with an increase in crying, tantrums, and becoming more clingy). This was felt most sharply amongst parents under 25 years old and those on the lowest incomes.
This report should be referenced as: Babies in Lockdown: listening to parents to build back better (2020). Best Beginnings, Home-Start UK, and the Parent-Infant Foundation. Babies-in-Lockdown-Main-Report-FINAL-VERSION
An Interview with Drs. Sabrina Liu and Sheila Modir on race and trauma in the U.S.
COVID-19 has brought to the surface many racial inequities in the U.S., especially related to health disparities and access to resources. Compounding these negative effects are the burdens of both racial trauma and COVID-19-related trauma.
As states create and implement guidance, it is important to note how the COVID-19 pandemic has exacerbated the stressors facing families and threatened the mental health of both children and adults. Leaders also need to pay attention to how new practices, intended to minimize the risk of virus exposure, may disrupt traditional, relationship-building connection points between providers and families. In all of this, innovative practices and intentional policymaking will be essential to continue meeting the developmental needs of babies in early learning programs.
In Considerations for Developmental Needs of Infants and Toddlers in Child Care Programs During the COVID-19 Pandemic, ZERO TO THREE offers recommendations related to mental health and relationships to layer on top of CDC guidelines to ensure that the developmental needs of babies and families are a part of state re-opening plans.
“When children are clearly sad or upset, the best gift parents can give them is time, says psychiatrist Joshua Morganstein, spokesperson for the American Psychiatric Association. “Sit with them and give them time, time to wait and listen to what they have to say.” He says this lets the child know that, number one, they are “worth waiting for” and that you will try to understand what they’re going through. And be honest, he says, when talking with your child no matter what their age.” Click here for the article from NPR.
The New York City Training and Technical Assistance Center (TTAC) recently hosted a webinar titled Reflective Supervision: A Process for Seeing Anew presented by Gil Foley, Ed.D., IMH-E (IV-C).
Reflective supervision is a relationship for self- exploration, discovery, and learning recognized across early childhood disciplines and systems as a best practice. Reflective Supervision is an act of shared mindfulness that helps Infant and early childhood practitioners understand themselves and their clinical experiences in greater depth and complexity; tolerate a range of emotions, their own and their clients’; amplify reflective function and solve problems with perceptiveness.
The process of reflective supervision guides attention towards the clinician’s inner experience and the contemplation of thoughts and feelings in a safe, “holding space” intermediate between didactic instruction and psychotherapy. By reflecting “on” the work, the clinician becomes better prepared to reflect “in” the work (Geller & Foley, 2009).
In this webinar, the participant was introduced to the meaning and conceptual underpinnings of reflective supervision; how it differs from traditional clinical supervision; the aims of reflective supervision, and the attributes of supervisor and supervisee that promote effectiveness. The process of conducting reflective supervision and how reflective supervision mirrors the development of reflective function in relationship was discussed. The effectiveness research and outcomes of an evaluation of reflective supervision with Nurse Family Partnership were reviewed.
The recording, presentation slides, and additional information can be accessed here.
Webinar: Supporting Families and Caregivers of Infants and Young Children Affected by the COVID-19 Pandemic
The New York City Training and Technical Assistance Center (TTAC) hosted a webinar titled Supporting Families and Caregivers of Infants and Young Children Affected by the COVID-19 Pandemic presented by Gerard Costa, Ph.D. & Joy D. Osofsky, Ph.D.
In this webinar, Drs. Joy Osofsky and Gerard Costa addressed the impact of the changes in our world and personal lives brought about by COVID-19. Special attention was given to the ways in which infants, toddlers, and preschoolers are affected when their usual routines are disrupted and their ability to manage stress and stay regulated are compromised. These changes were described through developmental and relationship-based perspectives, highlighting the critical importance of establishing new routines to support co-regulating, attuned, and responsive relationships.
Insights from the brain sciences were described to better understand the ways in which infants, children, and adults may react around the fearful climate of COVID-19. Strategies for speaking with, supporting, and playing with infants and young children were presented. Importantly, the need for self-care of the adults in the lives of the children was addressed.
The recording, presentation slides, and additional information can be accessed here.
AN INTRODUCTION TO INFANT/EARLY CHILDHOOD MENTAL HEALTH CONCEPTS AND PRACTICES: A THREE-PART WEBINAR SERIES
The New York City Training and Technical Assistance Center (TTAC) hosted this three-part webinar series presented by Susan Chinitz, PsyD and Gil Foley, EdD, IMH-E.
MODULE 1 focused on:
-Principles of development and how they shape practice
-Infant/early childhood mental health concepts and practice
The Module 1 recording, presentation slides, and additional information can be accessed here.
MODULE 2 focused on:
-“Climbing the Developmental Ladder”: Capacities for emotional & social functioning
-Risks to children’s healthy social-emotional development, including the impact of child disability and regulatory disorders
The Module 2 recording, presentation slides, and additional information can be accessed here.
MODULE 3 focused on:
-Risks to children’s healthy social-emotional development including those that emerge from parents’ histories and children’s social contexts
-Screening, assessment and differential diagnosis
The Module 3 recording, presentation slides, and additional information can be accessed here.
The New York City Training and Technical Assistance Center (TTAC) was pleased to host a webinar titled The Loss and Grief of COVID-19: Real Challenges and Practical Suggestions presented by Joy D. Osofsky, Ph.D., Gerard Costa, Ph.D., IMHM-C, & Gilbert M. Foley, & Ed.D., IMH-E (IV-C).
This discussion focused on the nature of grief surrounding COVID-19 recognizing that grief has no timeline and every pattern of grieving is individual. The presentation provided real and practical suggestions and advice related to how to cope as a family and how to talk to, listen to, and help children adjust and be supported. A combination of topic-specific presentations by each presenter and discussion among the presenters was used to present the material in ways that are practical and helpful. Some of the topics discussed were: the developmentally based expectable reactions of young children to the losses of COVID, how to talk to children about illness and death, the importance of structure, schedules and rituals in a time of change, the normalcy of anxiety with uncertainty, the importance of co-regulation in helping children manage emotions and behavior, the self-healing and regulatory power of play, how to cope as a parent, and the critical importance of culture and ethnic traditions in mourning.
The recording, presentation slides, and further information can be accessed here.