Invest in Kids (IIK) received an exciting opportunity from the Daniels Fund to provide essential mental health trainings for Colorado by Dr. Jerry Yager on development and the impact of trauma directed at Nurse-Family Partnership® (NFP) practice. Dr. Yager is a Clinical Psychologist with more than 25 years of experience in the assessment and treatment of traumatized children and adolescents. The IIK State Nurse Consultant, Allison Mosqueda, in collaboration with Dr. Yager, hosted 5 full-day regional trainings for all sites in the Colorado NFP program for 2018.
Objectives for the trainings included:
- Increase understanding of psychological, social, and biological development and the role attachment plays in facilitating or inhibiting healthy development.
- Gain knowledge and skills from training to apply to work to support clients capacities for demonstrating consistent, sensitive, and nurturing caregiving.
- Increase understanding of the role culture plays in child-rearing practices and impact on development.
- Develop an understanding of the role reflective practices play in building therapeutic relationships and facilitating optimal development of both the parent, child, and nurse.
- Increase knowledge and awareness of self-care practices and the role it plays in protecting the health and well –being of the helper and creating a safe place for clients to heal and grow.
Pre and post training surveys of nurse home visitors showed an increase in nurse’s knowledge of the impact trauma has on maternal and child brain development. Additionally, nurses demonstrated a greater understanding of how nurse home visitor interventions impact the caregiving relationship to optimize healthy brain development. IIK is also organizing follow-up conference calls with Dr. Yager, where nurses will benefit from case conference presentations to better understand and adopt this work into their caseloads. Additionally, IIK’s NFP Program Director and Nurse Consultant will embed this work into the support they provide NFP Nurse Supervisors, who will in turn utilize it throughout the year with the approximately 200 nurses they support.
Dr. Jerry is a clinical psychologist with more than 25 years of experience in the assessment and treatment of traumatized children and adolescents. He specializes in working with adolescents who exhibit self-destructive behavior and have severe mental illness such as clinical depression, bipolar mood disorder, post-traumatic distress disorder and psychosis. Before working with Denver Children’s Advocacy Center (DCAC), Jerry was the Executive Director of the Denver Children’s Home, which shares a mission with DCAC to provide high quality mental health care for low-income children whose problems would otherwise go undiagnosed and untreated.