New parenting class shows promise for families

Members of the team working on the Attachment Vitamins program discuss the process of fast-cycle iteration behind the intervention. Fast-cycle iteration is one of the guiding principles of Frontiers of Innovation's Translational Science Model. These concepts and approaches guide the work within the model and represent ways of working that make this approach unique in the field.

“Tell me one thing you love about your child?” This is the question that breaks the silence at every initial Attachment Vitamins class, with parents proudly sharing their children’s traits with other parents. Attachment Vitamins, a ten-week class for parents of young children, is proving to be a success for families who want additional parenting support.

Attachment Vitamins is an interactive parenting group designed especially for parents of young children ages 0-5. The classes help parents build specific skills needed to support their child's healthy development while learning how to protect against toxic stress. Initial results appear very promising, especially since the potential for families to continue ongoing therapeutic services is strong.

Some stress in early childhood is normal and can even have positive effects on development when parents and caregivers are there to help children learn problem-solving and coping skills. However, stress can become toxic when it is chronic and caregivers are unable to protect children through nurturing and supportive relationships. Science has shown that toxic stress can effect early brain development, causing problems in learning, behavior and health for years to come.

With support from the Washington State Department of Early Learning, Children’s Home Society of Washington partnered with researchers at University of California, San Francisco to develop and pilot Attachment Vitamins. Our Vancouver Family Resource Center was among the first in the nation to implement the program through Frontiers of Innovation.

Frontiers of Innovation is the research and development platform for the Harvard Center on the Developing Child. Frontiers of Innovation works to accelerate the development and adoption of science-based innovations that can be expanded to serve more young children and families.

Attachment Vitamins was recently featured July’s issue of ZERO to THREE.

Mindy Davis serves as clinical supervisor for Child & Family Counseling in Clark and Cowlitz counties.