August 2009


When I was very young, most of my childhood heroes wore capes, flew through the air or picked up buildings with one arm. They were spectacular and got a lot of attention. But as I grew, my heroes changed, so that now I can honestly say that anyone who does anything to help a child is a hero to me.
-Fred Rogers


In the News

The Effect of Depression in Fathers on Infants

We know that depression in mothers affects infants, but a new study showed that depression in fathers may also be affecting infants' emotional signals. Read the full story here.


Announcements

Targeted Home Visiting Coalition Seeking More Members

A grassroots coalition of groups doing home visiting throughout the state has been meeting on a quarterly basis. The purpose of the group is to secure stable sources of public and private funding so targeted, intensive home visiting is available statewide for high risk parents on a voluntary basis. The coalition hopes to work together to:

  1. preserve current state funding,
  2. make the case for expanded state funding,
  3. enhance the availability of health plan coverage for home visiting, and
  4. position Minnesota for increased federal funding for home visiting.

View the job description and a fact sheet on home visiting. If you are interested in joining the coalition or learning more about it, please contact Sheila Kiscaden, Coalition Consultant: 507-287-6845, skiscaden@gmail.com.


Ounce of Prevention Promotional Video

Check out this excellent short video from Ounce of Prevention.


Statewide Conference: Engaging Fathers, Strengthening Families
Accepting Workshop Submissions

Minnesota Fathers & Families Network is joining together with the Strong Foundations Conference to offer this joint conference. The purpose of this conference is to strengthen the knowledge, skills, strategies and alliances of those who work with expectant families, infants, toddlers, fathers, mothers and communities to build a strong foundation for healthy development. The 2010 conference theme, Engaging Fathers: Strengthening Families, reflects the integral role that fathers play in the healthy development of young children. The conference is designed for professionals in public health, health care, social work/mental health, child care, early childhood education, ECFE, ECSE, School Readiness, Early Head Start, child abuse prevention, home visiting, parenting education, family law, child support, and those who work with refugee and immigrant communities, the field of fatherhood and other helping professions. A request for proposals for workshops is now online. Proposals are due by Friday, 9/11/09 (use the Workshop Proposal Form to submit your proposal).


Minnesota Fathers & Families Network Seeks Three Communities for Intensive Technical Assistance: Greater Minnesota Fatherhood Leadership Circles

Throughout 2009–2010, the Minnesota Fathers & Families Network is supporting work in three Greater Minnesota communities to increase the father-inclusiveness of local agencies and organizations. Through the Fatherhood Leadership Circles, MFFN supports community-based initiatives to examine their father-friendliness and to expand their role in supporting fathers. MFFN is currently working to develop partnerships with 3 existing initiatives (such as Thrive Initiatives, Early Childhood Initiatives, Child Abuse Prevention Councils, County Collaboratives, etc.) to lead community-wide support for healthy fatherhood. MFFN will offer in-depth technical assistance, father-friendly program assessments and a promising practices framework for increasing the effectiveness of fatherhood programming. Is your community interested? For more information, click here (PDF).


Research

Programs that Work to Prevent Subsequent Pregnancy Among Adolescent Mothers

Between 1991 and 2006, adolescent birth rates steadily declined in the United States. However in 2006, the steady decline reversed itself, moving upward among teenage women ages 15 to 19 (with the exception of Latinas). About one fifth of infants born to adolescent mothers is a second or third child. Moreover, U.S. adolescent pregnancy and birth rates remain among the highest in the western world. Given the need to focus limited prevention resources on effective programs, Advocates for Youth undertook exhaustive reviews of existing research to compile a list of programs proven effective in preventing or reducing the incidence of second and higher order pregnancies or births* among adolescent mothers.

For additional information and to review the list of effective programs, see: Science & Success: Programs that Work to Prevent Subsequent Pregnancy Among Adolescent Mothers.


The Path and Promise of Fatherhood for Gang Members

In an analysis of gang members and criminal desistance, this study examined fatherhood as a potential turning point in the lives of gang members in the San Francisco Bay area. Drawing on the experiences of 91 gang members in San Francisco who became fathers, this study explored the meaning of fatherhood for them and the role it played in decisions to persist or desist in gang life and associated risky behaviors. Fatherhood initiated important subjective and affective transformations that led to changes in outlook, priorities and future orientation. However, these subjective changes were not sufficient unless accompanied by two additional features: first, changes in the amount of time spent on the streets and, second, an ability to support oneself or one's family with legal income. Policy implications are presented and discussed as well.


New Teen Moms are Better at Using Effective Birth Control than are Older New Moms

A study published by the CDC indicates that women under 20 are generally using effective birth control methods up to 9 months after giving birth. Teen rates are better than rates for older postpartum women.


Effects of Low Income and Low Maternal Education on Child Development

The study (PDF) identifies low income and low maternal education as the factors most strongly associated with poorer cognitive, social-emotional and health outcomes among very young children. It also finds that the more risk factors a child has, the more profound the disparities. The study, based on a nationally representative sample of children born in the U.S. in 2001, also includes implications for policy and practice.


Resources

Online Resource for Safe Car Seat Usage

A website devoted to the use of car seats is a valuable guide to what is required by law, best seats for children of different ages, how to use car seats to maximize child safety, common mistakes in using seats and other resources and information.

Content is provided by the Minnesota Safety Council, AAA Clubs of Minnesota and the Minnesota Department of Public Safety, Office of Traffic Safety.


Reading with Babies and Toddlers

When we suggest to teen moms and dads that they read to their babies, they may not understand just how one is supposed to read to an infant who just wants to chew on the book or why one would read to a toddler who wants to turn the pages and not listen to the story. Parents may engage in not-so-ideal behavior (perhaps reminiscent of their own experiences in school as much older children) to get their babies to "sit down, be quiet and listen." Click here for some tips from Zero to Three on how to present reading as a fun activity for both parents and babies.


From Zero to Three: Fun Activities for Our Young Ones

Birth to 12 Months:
Get Out Your Umbrella! Sing "It's Raining, It's Pouring" to your baby. At the end of the song, drop a handful or two of soft, colorful pompoms over her belly and chest. How does she like this exciting game? If she looks interested—widening her eyes, smiling, kicking arms and legs, try it again. If your baby is sending cues that she doesn't like this activity, for example by crying, arching her back or turning away, she may be telling you it's overwhelming for her. You can try it again another time. Babies' preferences change over time, even from week to week.

12 to 24 Months:
Painter Extraordinaire. Pick up some inexpensive paintbrushes at an art or hardware store. Go outside and give your child a small bowl of water and let her "paint" the sidewalk, the side of the house, the fence, her tricycle or other outdoor toys, etc. Point out how the wet portion looks and feels different from the dry. Ask her about her work—what she likes to paint, what she's drawing, what else she might do with a paintbrush. (As with any activity involving water, supervise your child closely and dispose of all water when your child is done playing. And keep in mind that your child will have to learn to follow a different set of rules when it comes to using real, colored paints in the future.)


Upcoming Trainings

September 21, 2009
Access to Education for Pregnant and Parenting Students: Title IX and Beyond

8:30 a.m. – 3:00 p.m.
Minnesota Department of Education, Room CC16
1500 Highway 36 West, Roseville

This forum features Lara Kaufmann, Senior Counsel of the National Women’s Law Center. It is designed for those who develop school policies, those who implement school policies and all who work with adolescent parents. Attend this training and learn:

  • How the law protects access to education for pregnant and parenting students: Title IX is not just about sports!
  • What we know about dropout prevention—best practices
  • What barriers exist for pregnant and parenting students
  • What about the boys? Young fathers need support too
  • What do pregnant and parenting students need to stay in school, graduate and move on to post-secondary schools and/or job opportunities?

Sponsored by Minnesota Organization on Adolescent Pregnancy, Prevention and Parenting (MOAPPP) with assistance from the Minnesota Department of Education Division of Safe and Healthy Learners. Supporting Partners: Minnesota Association of Secondary School Principals, Minnesota School Boards Association.

For more information, see the flyer and registration form (PDF). Questions? Contact Lorie Alveshere at 651-644-1447 x12 or lorie@moappp.org. Registration scholarships and a limited number of travel scholarships are available.


September 23, 2009
Grant Writing Boot Camp™

9:00 a.m. – 3:00 p.m.
Minnesota Department of Education Conference Center
1500 Highway 36 West, Roseville

Effective grant writing skills are essential to organizational success, but many times drain an agency’s limited resources and end in frustration. This workshop, designed for volunteers, board members and program staff is led by nationally acclaimed expert Dr. Bev Browning. Dr. Browning, author of Grant Writing for Dummies, will share her expertise on how to research and write winning corporate and foundation grant proposals.

For more information and to register, see the flyer and event registration form (PDF). Questions? Contact Jill Farris at 651-644-1447 x18 or jill@moappp.org.

This training is made possible through a collaboration with the Minnesota Department of Education.


September 24, 25, 30; October 14, 22, 27, 30 & November 5, 2009
We Can Parent Together
Tools for Engaging Fathers, Mothers and Others

September 24-Fergus Fall
September 25-Bemidji
September 30-Twin Cities Metro Area
October 14-Hermantown
October 22-Owatonna
October 27-Twin Cities Metro Area
October 30-Little Falls
November 5-Redwood Falls

All workshops from 10:00 a.m. - 3:00 p.m.

When parents are consistent and support each other in the task of parenting, children benefit. This workshop presents the basics and benefits of co-parenting, and offers strategies and best practices to utilize in supporting any family working to raise children in a healthy, safe environment. Specific focus will be given to the unique challenges of divorcing and never-married parents, adolescent parents, or those with substance-abuse / dependence-related concerns. This workshop is designed for professionals working with families.

Objectives:

  • Understand the co-parenting relationship and how it differs from the couple relationship
  • Learn how to implement strategies and tools to help parents improve their co-parenting relationship
  • Learn how to talk about the importance of fathers and how to support mothers in engaging fathers
  • Understand the special needs of teen parents
  • Assist in empowering parents with prevention strategies and tools specific to substance abuse and dependence
  • Understand how all the strategies presented can help prevent child abuse and neglect before it happens
  • Participate in the unveiling of our new web-based co-parenting toolkit for professionals and parents.

Follow this link to register. View the event brochure.

Presented by Minnesota Fathers & Families Network, Prevent Child Abuse Minnesota, Minnesota Prevention Resource Center, Minnesota Organization on Adolescent Pregnancy, Prevention and Parenting, University of Minnesota Extension and Department of Human Services Children's Trust Fund.



For more resources and information about adolescent parents, visit the Adolescent Parent Program page on the MOAPPP website.