Dracut Resident Named First Children’s Trust Faces of Prevention Award Recipient
The Children’s Trust announced today that Dracut resident Robin Akram, Greater Lowell Healthy Families Program Coordinator, is the first recipient of its new Faces of Prevention award program, which honors and recognizes family support professionals across Massachusetts who go above and beyond to support families and prevent child abuse.
“Robin works tirelessly to foster collaborations with new and current partners, modeling the importance of this work for her staff and utilizing these community connections to secure resources and support for young parents and families in the Greater Lowell area,"
said Chris White, Fatherhood Initiative Coordinator and former Healthy Families Program Specialist at the Children’s Trust, who nominated Akram for the award.
Akram oversees the Greater Lowell Healthy Families program, a home-based family support and coaching program that supports young, first-time parents and helps them create stable, nurturing environments for their children, reducing incidents of abuse and neglect. The program matches parents with trained professionals who visit families’ homes to provide support during pregnancy and the child’s first three years of life. Home visitors teach parents about proper baby care, promote nurturing and attachment, practice effective parenting skills, and ensure parents have a solid understanding of healthy child development. They also counsel parents on achieving personal goals such as going back to school or securing a job. Healthy Families Massachusetts is a program of the Children’s Trust.
“The importance of the work is what drives me,” said Akram.
“Sometimes people just need someone to believe in them and encourage them. It motivates me to believe in people that not everyone else believes in. Sometimes there is a stereotype around young parents, but I’ve always been someone who wanted to defy that stereotype. The work that I do is just who I am. I am so humbled to receive this award.”
In her role as Program Coordinator, Akram supervises Healthy Families staff; connects with community partners to provide program participants with needs for their children such as diapers, clothing, etc.; fosters resilience with the home visitors who directly support families; connects program participants to services and training programs; and provides opportunities for young parents to meet and build support networks. Helping young parents build stable homes and resilient families reduces the likelihood of abuse and neglect.
A study from Tufts University found that participating in Healthy Families Massachusetts led to a 36% decrease in parenting stress, a risk factor for child abuse and neglect. The longitudinal Tufts evaluation also found that involvement in the program led to lowering parents’ risky behaviors such as drug and alcohol abuse, reducing homelessness and dependence on cash assistance, and increasing parents’ employment and educational attainment which helps the economic stability of the family.
Akram lives in Dracut and grew up in Lowell.