Highlights from our BUILD Health DC Partnership When the pandemic hit, children lost their connection to classmates, friends and teachers. But parents and caregivers lost their connections too. We worried the strain on parents and caregivers would lead to stress on the whole family. Through a unique partnership with parents, pediatricians and government leaders, Children’s Law Center worked to bridge those connections virtually and provide parents and caregivers with the tools they needed to cope with the loss and trauma they were facing. A partnership that formed before COVID-19 With support from the national BUILD Health Challenge, the team – BUILD parent leaders, Children’s Law Center, Children’s National and DC Health – knew the trauma and burdens that DC kids carried with them every day. In DC, nearly half of all DC kids have had adverse childhood experiences (ACEs). And more than 25,000 DC children (1 in 4) have experienced two or more ACEs in their lifetime. The BUILD Health DC team was formed to evaluate how to help families build resilience and help children and families with ACEs. The pandemic made this work more critical. The BUILD Health DC team quickly shifted gears, crafting a series of virtual parent cafés which created safe spaces for parents and caregivers to talk about their anxieties and the things that made them feel strong even during tough times. The team also distributed a survey to nearly 500 families who worked with Children’s Law Center. The survey gathered parents’ concerns and the health-related issues they experienced during the pandemic. Advocating for Changes and Providing Support Children’s Law Center used the survey data to advocate for changes like asking DC public schools to focus on social-emotional learning and trauma-informed supports as kids returned to school, as well as increasing School-Based Behavioral Health providers across all schools. Recently, the BUILD Health DC team used the survey results and ideas parents shared during the cafés to host a series of trainings on topics ranging from helping children manage anxiety to supporting children as they cope with loss. Following each training session, parents asked Children’s National psychologists and our lawyers questions like: “How do you maintain your own calmness and keep […] under control, when you have children that have been exposed to trauma?” “My child suffers from anxiety – what are some coping techniques to help them with the changing school schedules?” “I’m a mom of a child with ADHD and my kid’s 504* expired while my kid was virtual, but now the school is making me go through the process all over again instead of extending her plan. Is this necessary?” “What are signs to look out for when my child needs professional help, how do I know when my child might need more help than I can provide in order to cope with a loss?” From "Helping to Manage Stress and Anxiety in Children During Pandemic and Beyond" Watch Recordings BUILD Health DC is now developing a new training series to help parents and community members advocate for systemic changes. On behalf of the children and families we work with -- thank you, as always, for your support, Tracy L. Goodman Director, Healthy Together P.S. Our next community conversation is quickly approaching! Join us on March 31st as we discuss the continuing impact of the pandemic on our children - including masks, vaccines and disinformation - with national experts Dr. Lee Beers and Dr. Christine Grady. Register here and submit a submit a question for Dr. Beers and Dr. Grady. *A 504 plan is a legal document and instrument developed for children with disabilities who do not need or qualify for special education but could benefit from accommodations and/or specialized help in school. Donate Children's Law Center | 501 3rd Street NW, 8th Floor, Washington, DC 20001 Unsubscribe [email protected]
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