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MSPCC Named New Children’s Trust Healthy Families Massachusetts Provider in Acushnet, Fairhaven, Freetown, Dartmouth, Wareham, New Bedford, Marion, Mattapoisett, and Rochester
Healthy Families Massachusetts connects young, first-time parents with home visitors to support parenting skills
The Children’s Trust, the state’s child abuse prevention agency, has awarded the 2022-2028 contract to oversee the Healthy Families Massachusetts program for families that live in Acushnet, Fairhaven, Freetown, Dartmouth, Wareham, New Bedford, Marion, Mattapoisett, and Rochester to Massachusetts Society for the Prevention of Cruelty to Children (MSPCC).
The Children’s Trust’s Healthy Families Massachusetts program is 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.
“MSPCC is committed to our mission to prevent child abuse and neglect by making sure parents have the support and resources they need to build nurturing, stable homes for their children,” said Sarita Rogers, Deputy Director of Programs for the Children’s Trust. “The evidence is clear that in most cases, child abuse is preventable when we help families build resiliency so that they can weather stressful situations. We can’t always prevent families from facing challenging times, but we can give them the tools to help them get through it.”
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.
“MSPCC is honored and excited to offer the Healthy Families program to young parents in our communities,” said Director of Prevention Services Meghan McGuirk, LMHC. “MSPCC is dedicated to providing children and families with resources to help them build stability and sustainability in their lives.”
The Children’s Trust develops programs and influences public policies by building Protective Factors that support the overall well-being of children and their families. Developed by the Center for the Study of Social Policy, the Protective Factors framework is a research-driven approach that identifies five key conditions which must be in place to support the optimal well-being of children and families. Protective Factors serve as buffers that help families cope, achieve, and thrive, even during times of stress. The five Protective Factors are: parental resilience, knowledge of parenting and child development, social connections, concrete support in times of need, and social and emotional development of children.
MSPCC’s staff has a robust language capacity and can speak Spanish, Cape Verdean Creole, Portuguese, Haitian Creole, and French to meet the needs of a diverse community. As part of the new contract, MSPCC is hiring additional family support staff to meet the growing demand for the program. First-time parents ages 23 years old and under who are interested in the program can learn more at http://healthyfamiliesma.org/. Parents can enroll in the program beginning in pregnancy.
About the Children’s Trust
The Children’s Trust is on a mission to stop child abuse in Massachusetts. We give parents the tools and resources to build self-confidence and gain lifelong skills to ensure children grow up safe and healthy. You can learn more at https://childrenstrustma.org/.
MSPCC’s comprehensive array of programs and services includes child abuse prevention and intervention programs, mental health treatment, and adoptive and foster care support. Services are provided both in the home and through community-based locations across the state of Massachusetts. In addition, MSPCC is dedicated to protecting and promoting the rights and well-being of children and families and advocating for laws on their behalf. - See more at www.mspcc.org.