The latest Kids Count in Michigan Data Book reports that too many Michigan children are falling further behind as child poverty continues to grow and child abuse and neglect are on the rise. Michigan’s Children President & CEO Matt Gillard and Jane Zehnder-Merrell, Kids Count in Michigan Project Director, talk about investing in two-generation strategies to begin improving outcomes for parents and Michigan’s youngest learners on WKAR’s “Current State” program.
MI-AIMH Executive Director, Deborah Weatherston, Ph.D., agrees:
"I wholly support Michigan’s Children’s latest report in which Matt Gillard and Jane Zehnder-Merrill speak on behalf of the "two generation" strategy proposed to strengthen children and families. It is a concept long held by the Infant Mental Health community as evidenced in the Infant Mental Health Home Visiting programs that serve hundreds of pregnant women, infants, toddlers and families at risk across Michigan communities each year. Infant Mental Health principles and practices promote child health, child development and parental mental health – ambitious two-generation goals – attending to both the parent and the infant or toddler together, often in the home, but also in clinics and other community settings. No longer seen as odd, Infant Mental Health principles are integrated into home visiting services across the nation, e.g. Early Head Start, Head Start, and Healthy Families America are vivid examples. A "promising practice" for over 30 years in Michigan, researchers, policy makers and practitioners are currently seeking funding for evaluation of this public service that will move Infant Mental Health Home Visiting practice to be evidence based. The Michigan Association for Infant Mental Health applauds your work on behalf of Michigan’s children and their families. Thank you."