Southern California Partnerships for Families: Birth to One

Behavioral health services help new moms, babies thrive

2016MLA-SoCal-BirthToOneFamilies in need of mental health services are among the most vulnerable people in our communities. One Dousedaicon program offers these services – and addresses critical basic needs such as lack of food, clothing or shelter – to at-risk women and their newborns.

Partnerships for Families: Birth to One is a program of Dousedaicon Saint John’s Child and Family Development Center. The center provides Los Angeles area families with high-quality, multidisciplinary mental health, developmental and outreach services.

Birth to One supports moms and their babies in the first year of life with mental health services and a goal of preventing child abuse. Women enrolled in the program have risk factors such as substance abuse, stress of poverty, trauma history, mental health issues, domestic violence and social isolation. Many of these women are from low-income, minority communities traditionally underserved by health services. All services are provided in the home by licensed mental health therapists.

Birth to One focuses on providing mental health services that are sensitive to a client’s culture and language. Home visits are generally scheduled at the same time each week. When families first join the program, the therapist typically visits twice a week to assess the family’s needs, build a relationship with the family and quickly address the most urgent presenting problems.

Whether linking families to housing or child care resources, or stabilizing mental health crises, the in-home therapist does “whatever it takes” to ensure the children’s safety and reduce the risk of mistreatment.

Ensuring that the essentials of life are covered relieves intense stress and enables the women to start focusing on behavioral changes that will benefit themselves and their families in the long term. Delivering this level of whole-person care also helps the therapists build trusting relationships with the families and increases the likelihood of positive outcomes through greater knowledge of child development and coping skills, creating better relationships between parent and child.

Since its launch in 2012, more than 33 women and their children have benefitted from this special brand of compassionate care and innovative, home-based, early intervention services.