TOPS DAD Upcoming Classes



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Breaking News for Babies: C0ngress Passes Mental Health Reform

Congress Passes Mental Health Reform
Legislation Includes Grants for Infant and Early Childhood Mental Health

Huge news for infant and toddler advocates! Today, Congress passed broad mental health reform legislation, including new grants to promote infant and early childhood mental health! Rolled into the larger 21st Century Cures Act, the legislation was passed along bipartisan lines.

Spearheaded by ZERO TO THREE and advocates across the country, the inclusion of the infant and early childhood mental health grants signals that Congress has now recognized the need to begin comprehensive mental health reform where the foundations of strong mental health are laid – with young children, starting from birth. Specifically, the provision:

  • Authorizes $20 million for grants to develop, maintain or enhance infant and early childhood mental health promotion, intervention, and treatment programs.
  • Ensures that funded programs are grounded in evidence and are culturally and linguistically appropriate.
  • Allows funds to support:
    • age-appropriate promotion, early intervention, and treatment services;
    • training mental health clinicians in infant and early childhood mental health;
    • training for infant and early childhood mental health clinicians to integrate with other providers who work with young children and families; and
    • mental health consultation in early care and education programs.

“This is an important victory toward improved infant mental health prevention, identification and treatment – and the first time the needs of very young children have been recognized by Congress,” said Matthew Melmed, Executive Director of ZERO TO THREE. “We are extremely grateful to the Congressional champions on this issue, including Senators Bill Cassidy and Chris Murphy, Chairman Lamar Alexander and Ranking Member Patty Murray, and Chairman Fred Upton and Ranking Member Frank Pallone for recognizing that babies’ mental health matters and fighting for them throughout this process.” Click here to read ZERO TO THREE’s full statement.

President Obama is expected to sign the bill into law soon.

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The First 100 Days for Childcare

As soon as Donald Trump walks into the White House

The next president’s best chance to get something done is at the very beginning of his term — his first 100 days.

That’s why, starting now, our focus is going to be on making sure President-elect Trump takes action on quality, affordable child care right away.

Are you in?

Add your name if you agree President-elect Trump needs to follow through on his promise to make child care a priority in his first 100 days.<>

During his campaign, he pledged that he’d make it easier for families to get child care. Let’s hold him to that promise. Let’s make sure he works with Congress to get a bill passed in the first 100 days.

We are getting the word out through the media, and mobilizing a broad group of supporters, we’ll speak out and insist on a real solution for working families.

Sign the pledge to demand results from President-elect Trump:

Thanks for standing with us,


Michelle McCready
Policy Chief, Child Care Works

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New Webinars Available via Achieve on Demand

Achieve on Demand is offering a series of webinars on topics of interest to home visitors. Some of the exciting topics coming up over the next few months include

Tuesday, January 10Home Visiting Safety
Thursday, January 19 -Understanding Substance Abuse through the Family Lens
Monday, January 23  Domestic Violence: Safety Planning
Tuesday, February 7 Home Visiting Boundaries
Thursday, February 9 – Trauma for Supervisors: Putting the Pieces Together

All webinars run from 12-1 PM (CST). Each webinar costs $25 per person. Any questions or need help enrolling? Please email or call 312-453-1993.

And remember to check out the professional development tab of the Strong Families AZ Home Visitor portal for a complete listing of professional development

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The Use of Technology with Young Children

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The Departments of Health and Human Services (HHS) and Education released a joint policy brief on the use of technology with young children to help families and early educators use technology to promote active, engaged, meaningful, and socially interactive learning.

The American Academy of Pediatrics suggest for children younger than 18 months to avoid use of screen media other than video-chatting. Parents of children 18 to 24 months of age who want to introduce digital media should choose high-quality programming, and watch it with their children to help them understand what they’re seeing. For children ages two to five years, one hour of technology use is appropriate per day, inclusive of time spent at home and in early learning settings and across devices.

HHS supports more limited technology use in early care and education settings. More information on their recommendations can be found in Caring for Our Children: National Health and Safety Performance Standards. Parents are encouraged to consider not only the amount of time, but also the quality of the content, the context of use, and opportunities the technology provides to strengthen and/or develop relationships.

Another great resource for families is Common Sense Media. A non-partisan, not-for-profit organization, Common Sense Media provides information and tools to help navigate the media options available for families with children. In addition to media recommendations, you can find reviews on video games, movies, TV, and apps. Common Sense Media and other resources can be found in the Home Visitor Portal under Resources.

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Support Breastfeeding

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Many employers have already discovered that accommodating employees who breastfeed is good business. The health benefits to mother and baby that come with breastfeeding mean reduced costs to employers due to lower health care costs, decreased absenteeism, enhanced productivity, and improved employee satisfaction. But what happens when your job takes you away from the office?

One of the popular exhibit tables at the recent Strong Families AZ (SFAZ) Home Visiting Conference was the “Lactation Station.” Part of your duties as a home visitor includes professional development, so SFAZ provided luxury accommodations for our lactating conference goers. Mothers were encouraged to check out a key to one of our special rooms set up for breastfeeding or pumping. The rooms were stocked with comfortable chairs, chilled juice and water, snacks, reading materials, a clean-up station with soap and paper towels, a refrigerator for storing breastmilk, and complimentary chilled insulated bags to transport breastmilk safely. Certified breastfeeding consultants were on duty to answer any questions on breastfeeding or storage of breastmilk.

To learn more about breastfeeding and how you can support breastfeeding mothers, visit the Professional Development tab of the Strong Families AZ Home Visitor Portal. A series of webinars are available to broaden your understanding of breastfeeding issues.

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Community Conversation with Author of “Orange is the New Black”

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