The Children's Trust has formed a strong partnership with Tufts University's Eliot-Pearson Department of Child Study and Human Development, in a decades-long collaboration of rigorous evaluation of the Healthy Families Massachusetts program. TuftsNow recently wrote about the relationship and its impact on young mothers.
[Healthy Families Massachusetts] HFM, as the program is known, tries to reduce child abuse and neglect by supporting positive, effective parenting skills and promoting a nurturing home environment.
According to evaluators on the Tufts team, the agency is doing its job. It significantly lowers parents’ risky behaviors, such as drinking or drug use, which likely reduces children’s exposure to traumatic events; it lowers parenting stress, a risk factor for child abuse and neglect; and it significantly increases educational achievement, paving the way for self-sufficiency.
The collaboration has benefited the Children's Trust and its Healthy Families Massachusetts program, it has benefited Tufts by giving rise to the Tufts Interdisciplinary Evaluation Research center, but most importantly, it has benefited young parents and their children through on-the-ground improvements made to the program based on the research.
“We have learned that we are lowering parental stress, which increases the chances that the children will do better,” Suzin Bartley says. “We have to be giving support and education for what is the most important role in the world.”
Read the full article here.