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TopMay 2015
Dear Community Partner, 

Are you ready for this summer's unbearable heat?! Enjoy this mild weather as much as you can before we confine ourselves to the indoors and AWAY from the heat!

The Central California Children's Institute (CCCI) has had a very productive year in 2015 thus far. Thank you all so much for your continued support and involvement in the success of the Children's Institute. 

Have a wonderful rest of the year and we look forward to sharing more exciting news with you regarding the progress of the CCCI this winter. 

Infant Mental Health Web - Based Training Series


The CCCI had the pleasure of hosting a 15-part webinar series to raise awareness and a better understanding of the needs of infants and toddlers and strategies for promoting healthy social emotional development in the early years.  As you know, the Institute has been an engaged advocate by providing infant-parent mental health training to early childhood practitioners to reduce the likelihood of poor mental and physical health outcomes in the later years. 


The webinar series was sponsored by the Infant Mental Health Community Training Institute at the Hospital for Sick Children in Toronto, Canada. Local funding support was provided by First 5 Fresno County.  We are grateful to First 5 for their continued support!


One hundred forty-nine (149) individuals attended the series!  According to the survey data gathered at each session, more than 70% of participants were non-Fresno State affiliated.  Several counties in the Valley were represented, including Fresno, Merced, Tulare and Stanislaus. Nearly 75% of attendees had not participated in the prior Foundations Infant Mental Health Trainings sponsored by the Children's Institute, reflecting both our reach to new audiences in the region, and a strong level of interest in infant-parent mental health.  Almost 90% of participants worked for an agency that provides services to children between the ages of birth and five.


The webinar series began in January 2015, with the final webcast in April 2015.  The response to the webcasts was overwhelmingly positive, and we would like to thank those who attended the series for making it a HUGE success!  Thanks also to our graduate student intern Amber Huhndorf (Public Health) for her work on the evaluation survey, and Wendy Davis, Training Coordinator for her technical support.

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Enhancing Cultural Competence in Clinical Care Settings (4C) Training


In 2014, after the 2012/2013 and 2013/2014 Foundations of Infant Mental health Training Program concluded, a survey was administered to participants to determine ongoing training needs in infant-parent mental health. The data collected from these surveys indicated that 84% of individuals wanted additional training, and preferred a combination of lecture and case presentation/case study format. CCCI, in collaboration with the Central Valley Regional Center(CVRC), created an advanced training program called Enhancing Cultural Competence in Clinical Care Settings (4C) and received funding support from the State Department of Developmental Services to implement the program for two years.


In January 2015, the CCCI recruited 48 participants to take part in the year-long training program in support of the social and emotional needs of young children and their families. This training is designed to increase capacity for primarily clinical professionals who work with young children to more effectively address their complex needs using evidence based and culturally responsive approaches. 

The 4C's training is framed around two models: The Neurorelational Framework (NRF) developed by Dr. Connie Lillas and "Use of Self as a Cultural Being" developed by Dr. Valerie Batts. The NRF is a tool that provides a holistic, psycho-biological, and brain-based approach to assessment and treatment, holding both the resilience and dysfunction in parent-child relationships, and individual differences. While the NRF assists with a comprehensive approach to infants, children and their parents on a "micro" level, there is also a strong component to helping communities create more robust links across systems of care on a "macro" level. The cultural competency model, "Use of Self as a Cultural Being" engages participants in a multi-cultural process of change that promotes recognition, understanding and appreciation of differences at the personal, interpersonal, institutional/systemic and cultural levels.


For this advanced training, we gave preference to licensed clinical professionals or those working towards licensure. Participants are comprised of a multidisciplinary group of individuals representing each of the six counties in our regional center's catchment area. The goal is to train two cohorts of 48 participants in the training program over two years.  There are five county-based teams, and each of the teams is composed of three or more mental health clinicians.   This first cohort of trainees was drawn primarily from participants from the 1st and 2nd year of the Foundations of Infant Mental Health Training Program. The second cohort of trainees will be drawn from the larger clinical community.

This training uses case presentations and practice sessions that integrate the above referenced models, as well as presentations by other expert faculty. Faculty presenters train clinicians on sensory processing disorders in children and working with children and families who have experienced trauma. As a result of this advanced training, practitioners will become proficient in the application of the NRF to clinical cases, and will be able to apply the framework with a cultural lens that meets the unique needs of families.

Applications for the 2nd year of the 4C training will be available in Fall 2015. For more information contact Wendy Davis at

This project is funded by the  Mental Health Services Act (MHSA)  in partnership with the 
California Department of Mental Health and Department of Developmental Services.
Dr. Cassandra Joubert's Sabbatical Project

Dr. Cassandra Joubert, Director of the Central California Children's Institute, is currently on sabbatical and will return August 14, 2015. 

During her sabbatical, Dr. Joubert will expand and revise her book,  Losing Control: Loving a Black Child with Bipolar Disorder , which chronicles her personal journey with raising a daughter diagnosed with this condition at age 16. 

In the expanded version, Dr. Joubert will infuse major infant-parent mental health principles, tell the success of her daughter's recovery over the past eight years since the book was originally published, and provide hope and guidance for families raising a child with a brain-based disorder. 
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Health in Central Valley Schools Project

The Central California Children's Institute is completing the second year of work with Central Valley school districts under a two-year grant from The California Endowment to promote positive disciplinary practices in Valley schools. This year, technical assistance and oversight continued to be provided to local districts that are engaging in policy and program enhancements to transform practices and policies away from punitive disciplinary practices such as suspension and expulsion to more positive, supportive strategies for school climate transformation. Due to the current pervasiveness of significant racial and ethnic disparities in punitive discipline practices across the state and the Valley, training related to the elimination of discrimination and awareness of implicit bias is a major focus of the project. 


Efforts for the second year focused on providing relevant technical assistance based on the first year's needs assessment, as well as expanding the Leadership & Learning Network of districts and school sites established by the grant. Mentionable achievements were made in each of these two goals. 


The Children's Institute held monthly convenings in the second year, from September through June. Technical Assistance providers included Dr. Sara Truebridge from Educating the New Humanity, Dr. Jeffrey Howard from The Efficacy Institute, Dr. Chris Blodgett and Natalie Turner from Collaborative Learning for Educational Achievement and Resiliency (CLEAR), Eileen Kugler from Embrace Diverse Schools, Jorge Aguilar from UC Merced, Larry Dieringer from Engaging Schools, and several presenters from The National Compadres Network (Jerry Tello, Mario Ozuna-Sanchez, and George Galvis). Topics included building resiliency, creating mindset shift, engaging with families, restorative/transformative justice practices, Circle Keeper training, trauma informed educational practices, data system creation and implementation, and effective school-wide discipline and student support practices. 


A significant partnership was developed between The National Compadres Network (NCN) and The Children's Institute in the second year of the project; NCN provided technical assistance at regional trainings in Stockton, Bakersfield, and Fresno, in addition to training the Leadership & Learning Network at several regular monthly convenings. More than 275 educators and representatives from community based organizations and local government agencies received training on transformative health and healing and transformative justice from NCN at events held by the Children's Institute over the past year. Several Network districts have taken additional steps to work with NCN on a deeper level to transform the capacity of their schools to heal children who have experienced violence, trauma, and racism. 

While eight school districts and one alternative education site made up the network of participants in the first year, that number was expanded to a total of 31 districts, county offices of education, charter schools, alternative education sites, and institutes of higher education in the second. While this number consists of only districts who attended project convenings, several additional districts were contacted, added to the project's listserve and invited to training events but were not able to attend. More than 290 Central Valley educators have attended training events over the scope of the grant, as of May, 2015. 


In addition to the educators described above, 69 representatives from community and local government agencies throughout the valley attended training events from the National Compadres Network on preventing and healing the impact of oppression, violence, and trauma in students, as well as in their families and communities. Some of these organizations included Turning Point of Central California, Fresno Barrios Unidos, San Joaquin County Public Health Services, Sequoia Youth Services, Fathers & Families of San Joaquin, Fresno County Deputy Attorney's Office, San Joaquin County Probation Department, US Naval Air Station in Lemoore, Madera County Behavioral Health, Merced County Mental Health, Valley Children's Hospital, and Community Hospitals of Central CA. 


Several surveys and site visits were also conducted with districts in collaboration with the Region IX Equity Assistance at WestEd, in the interest of maintaining awareness of current district and school site needs and ensuring that project activities continue to be relevant and useful to Network participants and the students, families and communities they serve. Additionally, the Children's Institute continues to add to its inventory of resources and potential technical assistance providers related to positive discipline practices and improvement of school culture, and to make these available to educators on its website. Information provided by Heather Berg, project coordinator. 


For more information contact Heather Berg, Project Coordinator at

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From the director and staff at the Central California Children's Institute, we would like to thank you for your continued support. 

Central California Children's Institute director and staff

The mission of the Central California Children's Institute is to improve the lives of children and youth by leveraging the resources of the university, and bringing community partners together to address regional challenges.