The children and families served by The Family Partnership have been disproportionately affected by Adverse Childhood Experiences (ACEs) and trauma. As we work with individual children and their families to develop resiliency and cope with early adversity and trauma, we also need to make sure that public systems are doing their best to help. Paying attention to brain science in both our direct work with families, and in the public policy arena, is an important strategy to break intergenerational cycles of poverty and build greater resilience and prosperity.

Change in MindIn 2015, The Family Partnership was selected as one of ten U.S. and five Canadian organizations to participate in Change in Mind, a three year initiative of the national Alliance for Strong Families and Communities, in partnership with the Robert Wood Johnson Foundation and the Palix Foundation’s Alberta Family Wellness Initiative.

The goal of Change in Mind is to infuse brain science into public policy discussions about the well-being of children and families. In seeking to align systems with science-informed public policy, our intent is to influence systems to promote better outcomes across the life course.

The Family Partnership was chosen to participate in this initiative through an independent selection committee and a competitive application process. Change in Mind is well-aligned with The Family Partnership’s Strategic Priorities for 2015-2020.

For more information on Change in Mind, contact John Everett Till, Senior Vice President of Program Strategy and Innovation at 612.728.2086 or jtill@thefamilypartnership.org, or Jeff Bauer, Vice President of Public Affairs at 612.728.2063 or jbauer@thefamilypartnership.org.

Definitions

Brain Science: The branch of neuroscience (the field of study encompassing the various scientific disciplines dealing with all the aspects of the nervous system) concerned with the brain

Trauma Informed Care: An organizational structure and treatment framework that involves understanding, recognizing, and responding to the effects of all types of trauma.

Science Informed Care: Approaches to prevention or treatment that are validated by some form of documented scientific evidence.

Adverse Childhood Experiences (ACEs): Are potentially traumatic events that can have negative, lasting effects on health and well-being; These experiences range from physical, emotional, or sexual abuse to parental divorce or the incarceration of a parent or guardian.

The Family Partnership Goal

The Family Partnership is currently using information from brain science to inform and direct program work. Moving from only trauma informed strategies in some programs (PRIDE, Healing Generations) to science informed strategies infused into all of The Family Partnership and it’s programs.

Application of this Knowledge

Conduct ACEs assessments on clients to demonstrate need for science informed programming as it relates to individual ACE scores.

  • Example: One client has an ACE score 4 or above. Another client has an ACE score of 1. The programming approach for each client will be different because the one with the lower ACE score (1) will be more likely to make adjustments and behavioral changes easier and quicker than the client with the higher ACE score (4 or above).