Families with young children face unprecedented challenges brought on by the COVID-19 pandemic and ensuing economic recession. Well-being, which is essential to healthy infant and early childhood health, is one such challenge. For adult family members to meet the need of providing a safe, stable environment for young children, they need information, resources, emotional support, and opportunities to de-stress. Additionally, medical and community service providers have also been taxed during this public health emergency and can benefit from organizational guidance and support.
During this webinar, the American Academy of Pediatrics (AAP) shared their recently revised guidance for pediatricians that outlines opportunities for supporting families and connecting them to community resources, thus maximizing the quality of the well-child visits. Families First of Boston presented strategies that strengthen parents’ knowledge and skills (e.g., increase child development information, leadership and communication skills) while decreasing isolation (e.g., creating social networks). La Cocina of Colorado, a mental health agency serving a Spanish-speaking population, discussed how reflective and mindfulness practices help staff sustain quality services for struggling families. The Michigan Department of Health and Human Services Medicaid program and home visiting section staff shared information about the development of a virtual maternal-infant home visiting program. It was the second in a three-part webinar series focusing on opportunities for early childhood and Medicaid programs to better support families with young children in the current and post-pandemic environment.
I. Welcome and Introduction
Speakers: Armelle Casau, PhD, Senior Program Officer, Center for Health Care Strategies; Cathy Bodkin, LCSW, MHA, Sr. Technical Assistance Specialist, ZERO TO THREE
A. Casau welcomed participants and provided a brief overview of the webinar series and the Aligning Early Childhood and Medicaid project. C. Bodkin introduced the importance of supporting wellbeing for families and early care program staff and introduce the speakers.
II. Expanding Provider Support of Families
Speaker: Sherri Alderman, MD, MPH, IMH-E, FAAP, Act Early Ambassador for Oregon, American Academy of Pediatrics
S. Alderman share AAP’s updated Interim Guidance on Supporting the Emotional and Behavioral Health Needs of Children, Adolescents, and Families During the COVID-19.
III. Strengthening Parents Skills
Speakers: Maureen O’Brien, PhD, Director of Curriculum and Training, Developmental Psychologist, Families First and Magda Rodriguez, Director of Programming, Families First
Families First of Boston presented strategies that strengthen parents’ knowledge and skills (e.g., increase child development information and leadership and communication skills) while decreasing isolation (e.g., creating social networks and community capacity).
IV. Maintaining Quality of Services
Speaker: Buffy Trent, PsyD, IMH-E, Clinical Director, La Cocina
La Cocina of Colorado discussed how reflective and mindfulness practices help staff sustain quality services for struggling families.
V. Increasing Access to Support: Medicaid Support of Virtual Home Visiting
Speakers: Janell Troutman, MSN, RN, Health Policy Nurse Analyst, Medicaid Program, Michigan Department of Health & Human Services and Dan Thompson, Manager, Perinatal and Infant Health Section, Michigan Department of Health and Human Services
The Michigan team discussed their cross-agency development of a virtual maternal-infant home visiting program.
VI. Moderated Q&A
Moderator: Cathy Bodkin, LCSW, MHA, Sr. Technical Assistance Specialist, ZERO TO THREE and Lindsay Usry, MPH, Director of Infant and Early Childhood Mental Health Strategy, ZERO TO THREE