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DCF shines spotlight on LiveWell programming

In the recent June/July 2020 "Prevention in Kansas" newsletter distributed by the Kansas Department for Children and Families, LiveWell Northwest Kansas was acknowledged for their partnership with the University of Kansas' Project Eagle and highlighted for quality services and resources offered to northwest Kansas families.

"Prevention Provider Partnership Spotlight: KU MCRI Project Eagle and LiveWell Northwest Kansas"

Project Eagle is partnering with LiveWell Northwest Kansas, on the Family First Prevention grant to serve 21 counties in the Northwest and Kansas City regions.

"We have had great success with this program in the Kansas City area, and we were excited about this opportunity to make it available to more families in Kansas," said Lisa London, director of Project Eagle at the KU Medial Center.

LiveWell Northwest Kansas, based in Colby, builds a foundation for children and families through strong household connections, healthy development and early learning. This can create a lifelong change for healthy lifestyles and smart decisions. For 16 years, LiveWell has worked with several local, state, and federal agencies, to advance outcomes related to healthy behaviors within Northwest Kansas, especially for those families most at risk. By filling gaps, adding enhancements to the early childhood system and linking health to education, LiveWell has successfully made a direct impact on community health outcomes.

Family First Selected Program, Attachment and Bio-Behavioral Catch-Up

In 2017, Project Eagle and LiveWell Northwest Kansas expanded their early childhood program offerings for young children and families through the addition of the Attachment Bio-Behavioral Cat-Up Program (ABC). This evidence-based parenting intervention for caregivers of children ages six months to 48 months focuses on sensitive and responsive care-giving in order to nurture child development and foster strong and healthy attachments. Children, depending on the experiences they've had in their young lives, may exhibit a variety of emotional and behavioral difficulties making it challenging for them to form secure relationships and manage their behavior and responses to stress.

"As we explore opportunities to address toxic and trauma in our communities, ABC has serves a proved method to make families happier and healthier, which in turn improves our ability to thrive as a community," said Travis Rickford, director of LiveWell Northwest Kansas.

ABC is designed to help children experiencing adversity by promoting attachment and sensitive nurturing parenting practices, thereby buffering against the long-term effects of toxic stress. ABC Parent Coaches us "in the moment commenting" and video clip review to directly model and reinforce behaviors that create nurturing, responsive environments for children.

Commenting is framed to feel positive and rewarding to the parents. The 10 sessions end with a celebration and a special "best of" DVD montage of the parent and child for them to keep. "It is truly amazing the amount of growth caregivers make in reading and responding to their child's signals after just 10 sessions," says Anne Marie Jackson, Project Eagle's ABC program coordinator. Parents have also commented on the positive impact of the program on their relationship with their child. "[ABC] makes you more conscious of the actions you take as a parent and how you react to things. You notice weaknesses in your parenting and how to make them stronger," said one ABC Parent.

The following success story, provided by an ABC Parent Coach, illustrates the impact of the program for both children and their parents: I worked with a young parent, and their two-year-old. The parent had recently gotten custody of the child and four year old sibling. The parent had never parented them before, and was very stressed out about caring for them. The children had experienced neglect in their previous placement, and were constantly dysregulated-- screaming, crying, and throwing things the entire session, so of course, this parent would get very frustrated with having to constantly set limits and manage their behavior. The first few sessions of ABC were very difficult. The parent became overwhelmed with the child's constant crying, and frequently yelled to try to calm them down. This parent was very eager to try ABC strategies to interact differently, and I saw incredible changes over the course of our ten weeks together. Most notably, the parent is a nurturing, soothing figure for the child gets upset. The parent decreased frightening behavior that he used to display and said they feel better equipped to handle the child's difficult behaviors.


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