JF&CS News Winter 2016

We are proud to announce that Jewish Family & Children’s Service has been awarded a $2 million grant over five years from the Substance Abuse and Mental Health Services Administration (SAMHSA) through their National Child Traumatic Stress Initiative in support of Early Connections/ Conexiones Tempranas (EC/CT), a project of the JF&CS Center for Early Relationship Support® (CERS). EC/CT is designed to address traumatic stress and build resilience in children birth to five, while reducing disparities in mental health access among marginalized populations, particularly Latino immigrant families living in Waltham, MA and nearby communities.

Very young children face disproportionate rates of trauma exposure; child welfare data identify infants and toddlers as the group at highest risk for serious maltreatment. For young children in immigrant families, the risks of trauma-exposure are compounded by high rates of poverty, discrimination, and the threat of immigration enforcement, placing them at high need for mental health treatment while facing barriers to seeking and obtaining appropriate services.

EC/CT is a multi-level project informed by scientific evidence that underscores the importance of intervening early in life to buffer and counter the effects of traumatic stress. At the direct-service level, EC/CT will treat 160 children over five years, offering Child-Parent Psychotherapy (an evidence-based practice designed for treating traumatic stress in very young children and their families), augmented by evidence-informed Circle of Security-Parenting groups to promote engagement and build interpersonal connections.

The work of EC/CT—both with clients and with the community—will be evaluated by researchers at Boston University School of Social Work. We are honored to be able to offer this service to those in need in our community thanks to this incredible grant.