Making Connections
Dear Friend,

May is Maternal Mental Health Awareness month. I care deeply about the many issues we address at JF&CS, but this one is particularly personal for me.  Nineteen years ago, after the premature birth of my twins, I felt scared and confused. I was not confident in my ability to parent these tiny humans, especially on four hours of sleep each night. As a successful professional, I would never have expected to benefit from a human service agency. But now I know better. 

Thankfully, I found my way to JF&CS and the Lauren & Mark Rubin Visiting Moms®. Like our clients, I was relieved to see a friendly face (and an extra pair of hands), to engage in adult conversation, to have a chance to confess that I sometimes felt overwhelmed and tired. 

So many moms, from across our community and throughout the world, find themselves unsure and isolated, even when surrounded by friends and family.  Whether anxious, depressed or simply exhausted, their feelings are both understandable and intense.

In this issue of Making Connections, you’ll learn a bit more about how we support new families and those who care for them. I am deeply proud of this work, and so grateful for the support I received those many years ago. 
Be well,


Gail Schulman
Chief Executive Officer

Watch this brief, inspiring video to learn more about how JF&CS helps young families build stronger, healthier relationships.  
mother and newborn
JF&CS offers 60+ free support groups each month for new and expecting parents.  Come meet other parents to give and receive support, ask questions, and begin building a parent community.  Click here for the list of groups and schedule. (Please note: pre-registration is required.) 
Statewide Leadership to Serve New Parents in Recovery
To serve and support our clients better, a team of CERS staff are among the first in the state being trained in Mothering from the Inside Out, an evidence-based parent support program designed for parents in recovery from substance use disorder. This program focuses on supporting parents through the emotional experience of parenting—to reduce stress, build skills to better understand children’s needs, and make parenting more enjoyable. Initially developed at Yale University, this program has been launched in Massachusetts in collaboration with faculty members from the Yale Child Study Center, University of Massachusetts Medical School–Baystate, and the FIRST Steps Together program. 
Advocacy in Action: Peggy Kaufman Moderates at 6th Annual Perinatal Mental Health Awareness Day
Perinatal Mental Health Awareness Day Event information
Peggy Kaufman, the Founding Director of JF&CS’s Center for Early Relationship Support, has long been recognized as thought leader on maternal mental health, and we were proud to have her as one of the moderators for 6th Annual Perinatal Mental Health Awareness Day hosted by the Ellen Story Commission on Postpartum Depression. The virtual event, titled “COVID-19: Changing the Perinatal Experience” brought together a group of experts to speak on how the pandemic has impacted birthing parents. 
Amy R. Sommer,
LICSW

Q: Tell me a bit about your career journey thus far. What did you do before JF&CS and how did you find your way here? 
A: Just after I finished my master’s degree, I did clinical work in child-parent psychotherapy — one of the first evidence-based treatment programs for children under the age of 5 affected by trauma. I was part of the second cohort to be trained through the National Child Traumatic Stress Network to provide dyadic therapy to parents and children. When I moved to Massachusetts,  I joined JF&CS, providing child-parent psychotherapy to parents living in residential treatment centers for those impacted by substance use disorder. 

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