When Peggy Kaufman, MEd, LICSW, joined JF&CS 25 years ago, she was tasked to develop a family support group. At the time, most groups focused on families with older children. But Peggy believed strongly that connections, support, and nurturing must begin at pregnancy, or at least when the baby is a newborn. Thus the JF&CS Center for Early Relationship Support® (CERS) was born!
From the start, the mission of CERS has been to support mothers and their babies as they begin their relationship together. In 1989, CERS served 21 moms with 17 community volunteers and one staff. Today, 70 volunteers and 35 staff support close to 5,000 people every year from all cultures and religions throughout Greater Boston and the North Shore. The center recognizes that nurturing maternal strengths within a caring community promotes secure infant-parent relationships.
“I am not aware of any other program that offers the range of interconnected programs, providing both support and intervention for a family that is pregnant or has a new baby,” says Peggy. “Whether a mom has postpartum anxiety, is frozen in the relationship with her baby, or has experienced trauma earlier in her life, we are able to serve as a comprehensive resource, providing a multitude of services as well as a close network of external experts.”