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Family Connections is an initiative to support early childhood programs in their mental health outreach to families facing adversities, particularly parental depression. Family Connections provides supportive educational materials and services.
Family Connections' mission is based on four key assumptions:
Based on these four assumptions, Family Connections' goal is to build early childhood program professionals' ability to engage parents, especially those who may suffer from depression. We also advocate for the importance of self-reflection, perspective-taking and self-care in professional development and in supporting parents' growth. Our staff helps early childhood programs develop resource and referral plans to respond to child and adult mental health needs. And finally, it is our aim to provide information and system-wide mental health consultation regarding depression and emotional health to centers and home-based systems of care that serve families with young children.
Our approach is based on the idea that parents can best be reached by helping them be more effective parents and that depression negatively affects their parenting. We emphasize the importance of building relationships and supporting positive communication between parents, children and early childhood program staff. We work with early childhood programs to provide opportunities for parents and staff to build their capacity to cope with depression and related adversity while fostering resilience in children and adults.
Family Connections is a program of Boston Children's Hospital. The Family Connections project was launched in 2003 as an initiative to support early childhood programs in their mental health outreach to families facing adversities, particularly parental depression. Through an Innovation and Improvement Grant from the US Department of Health and Human Services Office of Head Start, as well as from key community partners, Family Connections has designed and implemented an innovative preventive intervention model in 10 Head Start and Early Head Start Centers in the Boston area. In our partnerships, we have provided training, mental health consultation, classroom interventions, and ongoing supervision to staff.
Catherine Ayoub, EdD, MN, RN
Executive Director and Principal Investigator
William R. Beardslee, MD
Senior Consultant and Principal Investigator
Patricia Brady, MS, LMHC, LMFt
Clinical Services Director
Emily Callejas, EdM
Training and Service Coordinator
Adam Von Ende, MA
Brette Wolff, MA, EdM, CAS, LAC
Mental Health Consultant
The future of pediatrics will be forged by thinking differently, breaking paradigms and joining together in a shared vision of tackling the toughest challenges before us.”