Online resource helps new parents learn about baby’s needs and manage parenting stress
The Children’s Trust of Massachusetts is offering its digital, evidence-based parenting resource, All Babies Cry, for free in response to growing concerns about the increased risk of child abuse and neglect as a result of the coronavirus pandemic.
“We know that isolation and stress are correlated with child abuse and neglect so we are doing everything we can to support parents during this difficult time,” said Suzin Bartley, Executive Director of the Children’s Trust, an organization dedicated to ending child abuse and neglect in Massachusetts. “Parenting is hard under even the best of circumstances. With the addition of extreme stress and isolation for so many right now, parents need help and guidance more than ever.”
The National Child Abuse Hotline just reported that March calls to the hotline increased by 20% and text messages to the hotline increased by 400% compared to the same period in 2019. The organization also shared anecdotal information on calls coming in from new parents struggling to manage stress levels as they deal with the current pandemic and associated stressors, social isolation, and infant crying.
In response, the Children’s Trust made the move to give all parents free, full access to helpful videos with practical advice from experts, parents, and grandparents at www.allbabiescry.com with the access code “COVID19”. Topics include: what's normal about crying, comforting your baby, self-care tips for parents, and how to cope with colic.
In addition, the Children’s Trust has worked with its network of over 100 child- and family-serving agencies across Massachusetts to quickly move most of its face-to-face programs online. See below for examples:
- The Children’s Trust’s Healthy Families Massachusetts program which connects young, first-time parents with weekly home visits to help strengthen parenting skills. Over 50% of the parent participants in the program had confirmed cases of child abuse or neglect in their own childhoods. Home visitors help these young moms and dads create safe, healthy homes for their children. Home visitors are now using video chat technology to continue meeting regularly with parents. In fact, since March 10th, over 500 video visits have happened in regions across the state. One participant sent a note to her home visitor that said: “Thanks for sticking with me when everyone else closed up.”
- Parents can learn more about the Health Families program at healthyfamiliesma.org.
- The Children’s Trust’s Family Centers are also moving playgroups and parenting support groups online, using tools such as Facebook Live and Zoom. This gives parents the opportunity to connect with other parents from home while also giving their kids opportunities for stimulation and social engagement.
- A full list of online playgroups, parenting support groups, and other resources can be found at onetoughjob.org.
“As a country, we’ve never experienced anything like this before. Families are under a tremendous amount of stress and it’s vitally important that we continue to support them to provide as much stability as possible during these uncertain times,” said Bartley. “Child abuse can be prevented. We know that programs that strengthen families and support parents keep kids safe and that has never been as important to remember as it is today.”
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.