April  eNews
Partner Spotlight

For this month's Spotlight, we had the opportunity to sit down with Martha G. Welch, MD, DFAPA, the Director of the Nurture Science Program at Columbia University Irving Medical Center, and Dr. Cynthia Frosch  IMH-E® , Assistant Professor in the Department of Educational Psychology at the University of North Texas, to discuss their work surrounding the Welch Emotional Connection Screen (the WECS) with the shared goal to bring relational health into our community.
First3Years is excited to introduce this new relational health screening tool, that was developed by The Nurture Science Program, to train parent-facing professionals to use the WECS. The WECS can help professionals who work with families better understand behavioral problems in a new way, and provide more helpful support based on those insights through assessment of the construct of emotional connection. In partnership with Columbia University and UNT, First3Years will be rolling this tool out across the Greater Houston area and in North Texas. This partnership lays the groundwork for making the WECS available everywhere.
Continuing reading to learn more about Dr. Welch and Dr. Frosch's involvement with First3Years.
What attracted you to the organization/Why did you get involved?
Dr. Welch:  We are excited to partner with First3Years because we share their goal of supporting families to optimize child development. Understanding and supporting emotional connection between children and their parents has the power to improve family life and change developmental trajectories for the better. This partnership is a wonderful opportunity to understand what is needed to make that support available to families everywhere.
Dr. Frosch: Relationships are critically important to the health and well-being of young children and their families. I became involved with First3Years when the organization was known as the Texas Association for Infant Mental Health. I was looking for new tools to inform research and practice with infants and toddlers. I started attending Food for Thought and other training events and found the quality of the speakers and range of topics to be excellent. From there, I became endorsed as an IMH-E Mentor (Faculty/Research) and have worked with First3Years on program evaluation, training, and research efforts.

In your opinion, what is the most important work that this organization does?
Dr. Welch : First3Years does tremendously important work to support families, which also supports emotional connection. Emotional connection between children and their parents is critical for emotional well-being, physical health, and healthy development. The effects last a lifetime.
Dr. Frosch:  Education, outreach, and advocacy.  I think First3Years is unique for its emphasis on all three of those areas.
What do you hope the organization will achieve in the near future? In the long term?
Dr. Welch:  We hope First3Years will continue to do their important work, providing leadership for supporting families across Texas. In the near future, we hope they will continue to help blaze the trail in supporting emotional connection. What is learned in Texas leads the way for work across the country. In the long term, we hope that the leadership provided by First 3 Years will help make it possible for families across the country to get the support they need to strengthen emotional connection.
Dr Frosch: Sustained recognition of the importance of quality early relationships (at home, in child care settings, and in prevention and intervention settings) will help First3Years to continue positively impacting early childhood mental health. To reach that goal, I hope First3Years (1) continues to expand its training efforts, (2) delivers programming to meet the needs of infants, toddlers, and families in rural and underserved communities, and (3) continues to innovate. Initiatives like Safe Babies and the WECS relational health screening work taking place in North Texas and in Houston have the potential to create real impact in Texas and beyond.
Want to Support Relational Health? 

First3Years is seeking additional partnerships with organizations serving families with young children in Harris, Travis, and surrounding counties to participate in a relational health screening project for the remainder of 2019. Through this project, First3Years will provide 1) training on relational health and co-regulation, 2) training on the use of the 2 minute - Welch Emotional Connection Screen (WECS) to better understand the relational health between parents and children, and 3) technical assistance on supporting relational health within the context and goals of your program. If interested, please contact Naomie Kadima, Relational Health Project Coordinator,  to schedule a time to learn more.
86 Legislative Session Update
There are 42 Days left in the Texas Legislative Session!
Some bills to note include:
Bill 1279:  The "House's bill  includes full  funding  for Early Childhood Intervention for toddlers with disabilities" but the "Senate's bill does not." (Texans Care for Children).  On 4/9/19, the bill was considered in public hearing and testimony was taken in committee;  and is currently left PENDING in Committee.  Texans Care for Children Data Report on the Decline of ECI Funding (11/2018) 

HB 342:  More than 10% of Texas children lack health insurance, giving Texas the worst uninsured rate for children in the country. Our state legislative session is now more than halfway over, and lawmakers have yet to pass any meaningful legislation to address this problem. Take Action here or Learn More here!

Find out more about the "The Latest From the Lege"   here!
Year of Baby Q1 Impact

1st Quarter Report 
In the first quarter of Year of Baby, our focus was to continue to create quality programming and opportunities for infants and toddlers in Texas. As you just learned more about Relational Health and the WECs project, First3Years has made momentum milestones in achieving our goal of building positive opportunities for our tiniest Texans.

Learn more about our achievements here!
Infants and Toddlers in Child Welfare - Texas Cross Site Survey

Recognizing that many counties across the state have developed a specialized approach in addressing the unique needs of infants and toddlers in the child welfare system and many more are interested to do so, we've applied for and received funding to host a 2-day cross-site learning convention. Such vast interest in this area creates a valuable opportunity to build a learning community across counties in Texas that can not only learn from one another but with one another.
The Cross-Site will have no-cost to attend.
As a stakeholder interested in the well-being of infants and toddlers in child welfare, you are invited to participate in the following survey to assist in designing the Texas Child Welfare Infant Toddles Cross Site Convening later this year.

2019 Regional Conference

You are invited to join us for our 2019 Regional Conference as we discuss impact of trauma on our communities and reflection strategies to promote resilience for children and families. Our neighborhoods need your expertise to build stronger communities.

 First3Years Members: $35 | Non-Members:$45

Earn 5 CEUs

This year's Regional Conference will focus on Trauma and Child Development. Specifically we will discuss domestic violence and the implications on families. Joi n us for this very important, day long conference to learn about strategies and systems to support our youngest Texans who have experienced adversity. We aim to help you learn more about the following: 
  • The prevalence and impact of trauma in our neighborhoods
  • Early Brain Development in the context of traumatic experiences
  • Rates of domestic violence and systems to support families
  • Reflective practice and the intensity of this work
  • Reflection support through an onsite 'reflection room' with supervisors to guide the process.
For more Information, click HERE

Tentative Agenda
8:30 am | Check-in
9:00 am - 11:30 am | Keynote on Domestic Violence with Dr. Amy Chanmugam of UTSA
11:30 - 12:30 | Lunch and Networking
12:30 - 1:00 pm | Briefing of The Brain Architecture Game
1:00 - 3:00 pm | Interactive Session Playing The Brain Architecture Game in Small Groups
3:00 pm | Wrap-up and Conference Surveys


Interested in becoming a vendor at our conference? 
Click here for more information. 

Upcoming Trainings

April Webinar Series
Importance of Screening Children (Assessments)
April 17 | 1:00 PM
April 19 | 12:30 PM


Dallas Food for Thought
April 26 |  9:00 AM - 11:00 AM
The Madison |  15851 Dallas Pkwy, Addison, 75001
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