The impact of early trauma, in the form of abuse or neglect, is long-lasting. Practices in child welfare can help or interfere with young children’s ability to cope during difficult situations. Foster and biological parents who respond sensitively to young children’s attachment needs help support children’s feelings of safety in the world and increase the odds that children will develop an effective way to cope.
Together with The Guidance Center in western Wayne County, our team has been working to adapt the Mom Power model to serve this vulnerable population. The Strong Beginnings program provides support and training to all individuals working with children in the child welfare system. Biological parents, foster parents, child welfare providers, and court personnel all learn the importance of early relationships in creating optimal development for children. Topics and activities used in the training promote effective relationships between parents and children, while focusing on attachment-based parenting and child development, building social support, managing stress with self-care, and the unique parenting challenges of children in the foster care system. This support and training strengthens the relationships that are essential to young children’s ability to adapt and cope. This can decrease behavioral concerns for the children, and positively impact placement stability for the children.