“Child First: Intervención y prevención tempranas basadas en evidencia”.
- Which is the core in the Child First programme that supports intervention and prevention?
Child First believes that a sensitive, responsive relationship between caregivers and their young children is fundamental for healthy development across the lifespan. Many of the families we support have experienced heightened levels of stress and trauma. By focusing our intervention on optimizing the relationship between the caregiver and young child, we are supporting best outcomes in our families. We seek to reduce parental stress and depression, enhance the parent-child relationship, and mitigate the stress experienced by the family when basic needs are not being met.
To support the relationship, we take a team-based approach. The Care Coordinator helps meet primary needs the family may have, and the Developmental Clinician intervenes through trauma-informed relationship-based practice. By providing our services through home visiting, we are meeting families in the least restrictive way, removing barriers transportation and travel often pose, and connecting with families in ways that honor their experience and perspective.
- What happens when public policies do not exist to prevent abuses against childhood?
Prevention is critical in making a lasting impact in the lives of young children who are living through trauma and stress. When we support families who are facing the impact of stressors like poverty and violence, we create the opportunity for the family to create a different trajectory. It is possible and important to provide supports at critical early junctures in the family’s development to maximize a caregiver’s sensitivity and responsiveness to the child. When these supports are not offered and when prevention is not a focus of public policy, we run the risk of supporting reactive policies that lead to short-term gain, instead of capitalizing on important windows of early development. When we intervene during these early years, we can exact the greatest impacts with lasting effects.
- In what way, early abusive experiences during childhood build the architecture of the brain?
When babies are in utero, they have billions of brain connections developing at astounding rates. These connections continue throughout childhood, but never more robustly than during the first three years of life. When stress, trauma, and neglect occur during early childhood, the architecture of the brain suffers. Connections that should be made can be interrupted. In extreme cases of neglect, the very shape and size of the brain can be impacted. The good news is that a baby’s brain has a certain plasticity, meaning that connections can be re-established under the right circumstances. This is why early intervention is important and why identifying stress and trauma in early childhood is powerful.