MINNEAPOLIS – This week, three members of The Family Partnership’s leadership team will represent the organization at the fifth convening for the Change in Mind Initiative being held in Edmonton, Alta.

Last June, The Family Partnership was selected as one of ten organizations across the United States to join the Alliance for Strong Families and Communities new brain science initiative Change in Mind: Applying Neurosciences to Revitalize Communities. Member organizations representing the U.S., along with five non-governmental organizations in Alberta, Ca., were chosen to infuse emerging neuroscience discoveries into their public policy and direct services with families and children.

“We have learned a great deal about the effects of toxic stress (abuse, neglect, serious family dysfunction) on the developing brain” said John Till, Senior Vice President of Program Strategy and Innovation. The long term impact of exposure to toxic stress are wide ranging and include increased risk of anxiety, depression, addiction, and diabetes in adult life. What kids experience at a young age can even shorten their life span by 20 years. The good news is that there is a lot that can be done to treat such exposure, and we can realign our own service systems and public resources do a better job in treating as well as preventing children’s exposure to toxic stress.”

John Till, Jeff Bauer, Vice President of Public Affairs, and Sam Simmons, SAFE Families Manager will represent The Family Partnership at the three-day conference. The trio will join the human service leaders from around the country in peer learning and best practice sessions to learn the latest brain science research, promote strategies to advance science-aligned policy efforts, and increase the pace of innovation in our sector.

“We are excited to be a part of this cohort,” said Till. “Having the opportunity to connect with other organizations who are thinking critically about applying what we now know – that chronic stress impacts human development – to both practical and programmatic approaches as well as policy and systems change.”

The Family Partnership has already begun incorporating science-informed of the Change in Mind Initiative strategies to measure toxic stress in clients. The next step is helping parents understanding how early adversity affected their development, to reduce the likelihood that toxic stress is transmitted across generations.

For more information on the Change in Mind Initiative, or other programs of The Family Partnership, contact Michelle Edgerton, 612.341.1612, medgerton@thefamilypartnership.org

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