Safe Environment for Every Kid (SEEK)

The Mayerson Center has been working with community pediatric practices to implement the Safe Environment for Every Kid (SEEK) program into well-child visits. SEEK is a program designed to foster a more positive home environment for all children. Adversities in the home such as poverty, food and housing insecurity, substance abuse, mental illness, and domestic or neighborhood violence can create an unsafe and stressful environment for a child. Children who experience greater adversity are at greater risk for poor health behaviors and health outcomes in adulthood including substance abuse, obesity and heart disease. The SEEK program is designed to identify some of these risk factors through a 15-item questionnaire completed at one or more well-child checks. SEEK screens for problems with food insecurity, parenting stress, depression, substance abuse, domestic violence, and harsh discipline. Health providers engage caregivers who answer “yes” to any question in a brief 5-10 minute conversation to assess their situation, concerns, and barriers, to identify their strengths and resources, and to jointly develop a plan for healthy behavior change.

Calm Baby Gently

The Mayerson Center has partnered with several local primary care practices to implement the Calm Baby Gently program. Calm Baby Gently is a program that seeks to reduce the incidence of inflicted traumatic brain injury due to a child being shaken by a caregiver. A local artist, and Cincinnati physician, Dr. John Hutton, MS, MD, has designed a short children’s book about what to do when your baby cries, how to respond and stay calm, and the benefits of early reading. The book, packaged as a gift, is given to families at the one-month well child visit. When families return for the two-month visit, they are given a one-page survey which asks about the child’s crying, coping strategies, and if the book was helpful. Initial feedback from providers and families has been positive and planning to expand the program statewide in the next year has begun.

Joining Forces for Children

The Mayerson Center for Safe and Healthy Children is the backbone organization for a community collective impact initiative called Joining Forces for Children. Leaders from over 40 greater Cincinnati organizations, committed to improving child health and development by lessening the impact of toxic stress or adverse childhood experiences (ACEs), are active participants. Last May, a group of 40 partners joined the Mayerson Center to create a five-year strategic plan, draft a vision and mission statement, revise previous work outlining core beliefs, and construct objectives and strategies for each of the three previously identified priority areas: Education and awareness, advocacy and policy development, and activities and program development. Through its robust network of committed partners, Joining Forces for Children will strive to address and prevent the risks of childhood adversity and work to strengthen families with the skills, knowledge, support and resources they need to nurture their children’s health and well-being.