Early Connections/Conexiones Tempranas (EC/CT), a project of the Center for Early Relationship Support (CERS) of Jewish Family and Children’s Service (JF&CS), is designed to address traumatic stress and build resilience in children ages 0-5 while reducing disparities in mental health access among marginalized populations, particularly Latino immigrant families living in Waltham, Massachusetts and nearby communities. The project serves pregnant women and families with young children who are coping with multiple adversities including parental substance use or mental illness, domestic abuse, community violence, homelessness, separation from a primary caregiver, and/or immigration.
In collaboration with our partner, Boston University School of Social Work, EC/CT offers and evaluates services at multiple levels. For parents and young children, EC/CT provides Child-Parent Psychotherapy augmented by Circle of Security-Parenting groups to promote engagement and build interpersonal connections. The EC/CT team includes bi-lingual/bi-cultural clinicians, as well as community members hired as Mentoring Moms, to provide peer support and connect families with resources. At the community and systems level, EC/CT is building a trauma-informed network of local organizations, representing health care, early childhood education, child welfare, domestic violence services, and Early Intervention to enhance community-wide awareness and collaboration in meeting the needs of trauma-exposed and marginalized young children and families.