, Baptist Memorial Hospital for Women
and Knowledge Quest
are partnering on a three-year pilot program that will create two new "parenting places" to launch in Greater Memphis in January of next year. The initiative will result in at least four new full-time positions to help families struggling with toxic stress.
At the heart of the parenting places initiative, which was funded privately from a local foundation, is the startling correlation between adverse childhood experiences and adult health outcomes
"We hope to universalize that parenting is a challenge, it's one of the hardest things we do, and that it is OK to need help," says Barbara Holden Nixon, Adverse Childhood Experiences (ACE) Task Force chair. "The three partners on this project advocated for doing something with the research to find out more about the toxic stress that is leading to feeding off our criminal justice and child welfare systems on the back end. We want to find what we can do on the front end to prevent it."
Porter-Leath will administrate the parenting places, and Baptist Memorial Hospital for Women and Knowledge Quest will host the first two pilot locations.
"The difference of these sites from other programs is that they will be open to everybody, regardless of where they live or what their income or situation; they will be universal. You will not have to qualify for them or be referred," Holden Nixon says.
The centers will boast state-of-the-art, welcoming and preventive approaches to reducing challenges to their children's emotional and behavioral health, and Holden Nixon stresses that the emphasizes they will be non-threatening environments where family members will be able to talk about anything.
The ACE Task Force includes a team of 40 local leaders, along with ex officio members Tennessee First Lady Crissy Haslam, Memphis Mayor A C Wharton Jr. and Shelby County Mayor Mark Luttrell Jr. The group is dedicated to raising community awareness about the costly and harmful outcomes of toxic stress that affect many, if not most, families during the course of a child's development and which can undermine all forms of health.
By Michael Waddell