Guidance and Resources to Support Family Support Program Work During COVID-19

Guidance – Updated 06/29/2021

After June 29th, 2021 we will no longer be updating this page, but will retain this page as an historical record.

All Pennsylvania Issued Requirements related to COVID-19 were officially sunset as of June 28th, 2021, please see note below under COVID-19 Guidance Update for additional information.

Thank you for all you do for Pennsylvania’s families and their children. 

Please be sure to review the entire page each time as sections may be updated as more information becomes available. Sections that are Updated will have the date of the information update specified in the title along with the word Updated. Sections that are added will have the word Added in the title and the date they were Added.

COVID-19 Guidance Update
(Added/Issued 06/29/2021)

At this time required statewide COVID-19 mitigation restrictions have been lifted, and on Monday, June 28th, the Governor’s Executive Order requiring masks for those not fully vaccinated ended. 

While we understand COVID-19 is still an issue in Pennsylvania, the Office of Child Development and Early Intervention (OCDEL), Bureau of Early Intervention Services and Family Supports continue to strongly recommend programs follow relevant CDC guidance as well as their own workplace guidance and model guidance for Family Support programs for health and safety measures moving forward. 

The Bureau of Early Intervention Services and Family Support will not be updating any COVID-19 related guidance or materials; instead we will sunset date our Family Support Operational Guidance during the COVID-19 pandemic effective June 28, 2021 with the ending of the Executive Order requiring masks. However, we highly recommend continuing to follow the CDC guidance especially considering the children and families we support. Please continue to follow all issued model guidance to ensure you are operating to fidelity moving forward. 

Please find a list of applicable links below the email signature. 

Thank you for your continued support of Pennsylvania’s families and their children. 

The Pennsylvania Family Support Program Team 

Office of Child Development and Early Learning | Bureau of Early Intervention Services and Family Supports

333 Market Street, 6th Floor | Harrisburg, PA 17126 | |

Providing families access to high quality services to prepare children for school and life success.


Workplaces and Businesses | CDC

What In-home Social Service Providers and Clients Need to Know about COVID-19 | CDC

How to Protect Yourself & Others | CDC

COVID-19 in Children and Teens | CDC

Young Children’s Wellbeing During COVID-19: Parental Resources |CDC

Making Decisions about Children Attending In-person School During the COVID-19 Pandemic: Information for Parents, Guardians, and Caregivers | CDC

Talking with children about Coronavirus Disease 2019 | CDC

Guidance for Operating Child Care Programs during COVID-19 (

COVID-19 Guidance Update
(Revised 04-09-2021)

In regards to the Monday, April 5th, 2021 titled: Updated Family Support Guidance message please disregard as this is guidance related to Early Intervention and is not specific to Family Support Programs. 

Family Support Programs should continue to follow their evidence-based home visiting model(s) guidance and be responsive to family identified needs.  If the family identifies a need especially related to concrete supports (diapers, wipes, formula, etc.) Programs should find a way to safely address the needs. Grant funds may be used for this purpose.

If providing any in-home/in-person services the Home Visitor should utilize the updated COVID-19 Screener for themselves and anyone participating, along with the model(s) guidance. 

The COVID-19 vaccine is another tool in our toolkit in the fight against COVID-19. People who are vaccinated still need to wear masks, wash hands, use hand sanitizer, physical distance and avoid small and large gatherings. Individuals will be much more protected and can have that comfort that they will have a lesser chance to catch COVID-19 and/or a less severe case if they do get COVID-19. OCDEL anticipates it will take significant time to get through the vaccination phases and have community spread go down significantly. Until that time, OCDEL needs everyone to continue all of the safety measures that are in effect now. More information regarding vaccines can be found at Vaccine FAQs (

As a reminder, no one can be required to be vaccinated. Family Support programs should not ask for proof of COVID-19 vaccination as a safety precaution. It is not a requirement of the CDC, DOH, DHS or OCDEL. Vaccination records are protected health information that are not required to be disclosed. 

Family Support Program Guidance
(Updated 04/09/2021)

Name Downloads Version Last Modified Download
Name Downloads Version Last Modified Download
240 downloads 1.0 01-12-2021 9:28 Download
244 downloads 1.0 01-12-2021 9:28 Download
377 downloads 1.0 04-05-2021 16:56 Download

If you have questions about the guidance or resources please contact your Family Support Consultant.  As frequently asked questions and clarification needs come to the Bureau, additional operational guidance will be distributed to Family Support Programs. 

COVID-19 Spending for SFY 2020/2021
(Added 02/08/2021)

In order to assist OCDEL Family Support Program’s in their response to the COVID-19 public health emergency Grantees are permitted to use Family Support Grant Funding in the following ways:

  1. Train home visitors in conducting virtual home visits and in emergency preparedness and response planning for families.
  2. Acquire the technological means as needed to conduct and support a virtual home visit for families enrolled in the program; and
  3. Provide emergency supplies to families enrolled in the program, regardless of whether the provision of such supplies is within the scope of the approved program, such as diapers, formula, non-perishable food, water, hand soap, and hand sanitizer.

As with all other costs paid using OCDEL Family Support Program grant funds, Grantees must ensure that funds are used for authorized purposes in compliance with; program policies, program requirements and the terms and conditions of the grant award. All costs must be reasonable, allowable, and allocable. Grantees should ensure that they comply with their own organizational policies when incorporating these new authorities.

These measures will be in effect until the end of all current Family Support Grant Awards has been extended until September 30, 2021 or the end of declaration of the COVID-19 public health emergency if prior to the end of all current grant awards.  

Pregnancy and Covid
(Added 7/7/2020)

The Health Resources Services Administration (HRSA) and the Office of Child Development and Early Learning  want to ensure you are aware of the change the Centers for Disease Control and Prevention (CDC) made to guidance on the risk of COVID to pregnant women.  

In a Morbidity and Mortality Weekly Report (MMWR) published last week, the CDC indicated that pregnant women may be at increased risk for severe COVID-19 illness.  More specifically, the MMWR study determined that pregnant women with COVID-19 were more likely than non-pregnant women to be hospitalized and at increased risk for intensive care unit (ICU) admission and the receipt of mechanical ventilation.  In its public-facing guidance, CDC notes that among pregnant people with COVID-19 “there may be an increased risk of adverse pregnant outcomes, such as preterm birth.”

In light of these new findings, the CDC is recommending that pregnant women be counseled about the potential risk for severe illness from COVID-19 and measures to prevent infection. Additionally, potential barriers to adherence to these measures should be addressed. Per CDC, specific actions pregnant women can take include “not skipping prenatal care appointments, limiting interactions with other people as much as possible, taking precautions to prevent getting COVID-19 when interacting with others, having at least a 30-day supply of medicines, and talking to their health care provider about how to stay healthy during the COVID-19 pandemic.” 

Continuous Quality Improvement
(Added 4/8/2020)

OCDEL along with the Health Resources and Services Administration (HRSA) recognizes that this is a challenging time and the COVID-19 public health emergency is impacting home visiting service delivery in multiple ways, including the suspension of home visiting or alternative approaches to conducting visits. 

Continuous Quality Improvement (CQI) Teams are encouraged to continue with CQI plans and tests of change adapted as needed to meet the current circumstances. If these changes in service delivery also impact your CQI activities, as outlined in the CQI Team’s monthly Plan, Do, Study, Act (PDSA) reports, please note any challenges, changes, or obstacles in the monthly reporting section of the PDSA worksheet. 

While CQI remains a vital strategy for Family Support programs, the current circumstances could impact data in a negative manner, the feedback from caregivers and staff could act as valuable qualitative data to study at the end of a CQI project. 

OCDEL does recommend that CQI Teams discuss proposed changes with the Family Support Program Specialist, and cc their Family Support Consultant. Please reach out if you have any additional questions or concerns.

Data Collection: Demographic and Performance Measures
(Added 3/25/2020)

OCDEL recognizes that this is a challenging time and the COVID-19 public health emergency is impacting home visiting service delivery in multiple ways, including the use of alternative approaches to conducting visits. 

Performance measurement and reporting remain key hallmarks of learning and accountability for the Family Support Programs in Pennsylvania. State Fiscal Year 2019-20 and Federal Fiscal Year 2020 performance data, including participants served, benchmark performance measures, and caseload capacity data will be reviewed and interpreted with the recognition that many programs will continue to experience major service delivery disruptions. 

For performance measure screenings please refer to model guidance on conducting screenings during virtual visits. 

Screening Measures Include: 

  • Measure 3: Depression Screening 
  • Measure 10: Parent-Child Interaction Screening
  • Measure 12: Developmental Screening
  • Measure 14: Intimate Partner Violence Screening

Performance Measures that are typically done via face to face home visit can be completed through video observation or Caregiver interview. 

Maternal Depression and IPV Screenings and Referrals
(Added 5/8/2020)

This memo provides general guidance from the MIECHV HV CoIIN 2.0 faculty on the topics of maternal depression (MD) and intimate partner violence (IPV). Please note that this guidance is not intended to replace or supersede guidance from home visiting models or local, state or federal authorities. 

Well-Child Telehealth Visits (Measure 4)
(Added 5/12/2020)

Well-child tele-health visits completed according to the AAP schedule can be included as meeting the numerator criteria for Performance Measure 4. The AAP has issued guidance on providing well-child care vis telehealth during COVID-19. We recognize that not all providers may offer well-child visits, in person or via telehealth, during this time. 

Postpartum Telehealth Visits (Measure 5)
(Added 5/12/2020)

Postpartum tele-health visits that meet the timeline criteria defined in the Performance Measure can be included as a completed visit. The American College of Obstetricians and Gynecologists recommends that women connect with their health care provider to discuss how their postpartum care visits may change during this time, including a shift to telemedicine or telehealth. 

Tele-health / Virtual Visits Related to Data Collection
(Added 3/20/2020) 

For completed home visits please follow model developer guidance about definitions of completed home visits for the purposes of reporting. In order to track the number of telehealth/virtual visits moving forward we have added a new question to Measure 13 as of Friday March 20th, 2020 in the data system. Please only enter tele-health/virtual visits that count as Completed home visits per model guidance. 

What HIPAA considerations should be applied to tele-intervention, particularly to suggested methods like Skype or Facetime? 
(Added 3/25/2020)

A covered health care provider that wants to use audio or video communication technology to provide telehealth to patients during the COVID-19 nationwide public health emergency can use any non-public facing remote communication product that is available to communicate with Client. The Federal Office for Civil Rights (OCR) at the U.S Department of Health and Human Services (HHS) is exercising its enforcement discretion to not impose penalties for noncompliance with the HIPAA Rules in connection with the good faith provision of tele-health using such non-public facing audio or video communication products during the COVID-19 nationwide public health emergency. This exercise of discretion applies to telehealth provided for any reason, regardless of whether the telehealth service is related to the diagnosis and treatment of health conditions related to COVID-19.

Documents that Require Signature 
(Added 3/25/2020)

Family Support Programs may obtain verbal consent from the family/caregiver during the COVID-19 pandemic. The documents requiring Caregiver signatures must be reviewed with the family as part of obtaining verbal consent. Consent must be documented in a visit note along with the date it was obtained. The family can sign and date the documents at the next face-to-face visit.

How shall we provide services to families who do not have access to or cannot afford to participate in video conferences (e.g., devices, internet)? 
(Updated 3/26/2020)

Many locations are reporting that after contacting their local cable/internet companies, the local companies are agreeing to provide free internet to educators and families with students for 60 days.  During the COVID-19 pandemic, in some areas, local Internet providers have announced that they are providing two to three months of free internet access and telephone service to selected households, e.g., those with students or people who are 60 or older.  In some areas, Xfinity Wi-Fi hotspots may be available to anyone who needs them for free – including non-Xfinity Internet subscribers. For a map of Xfinity Wi-Fi hotspots, visit Once at a hotspot, consumers should select the “xfinitywifi” network name in the list of available hotspots and then launch a browser.

Applications are available that utilize internet but do not utilize a Families Phone Plan minutes. As we become aware of more apps we will list them below. Please notify your Family Support Consultant of any apps Families have been utilizing that would benefit other Family Support and Home Visiting Providers.

Free and Low-Cost Internet Plans 
The National Digital Inclusion Alliance is released a list of free and low-cost internet resources, please note there are costs associated with some of the options.

Free Government Cell Phones: Plans, Devices, How to Apply

* Please note that the Department of Human Services, Office of Child Development and Early Learning is providing links to these apps as a possible solution regarding a family’s phone plan minutes. The Pennsylvania Department of Human Services Office of Child Development and Early Learning does not endorse or support any specific application or developer of applications.

SFY 2019-20 and SFY 2020-21 Budgets and Revisions
(Added April 2nd, 2020)

  • Funding 
    • 2019-20
      • At this time all SFY 2019-20 Grant awards must be spent by June 30th, 2020 or returned if unspent.
      • For SFY 2019-20 Programs should not spend down funds just to spend them as all costs need to be allowable and a budget revision may be required under certain conditions.

    • 2020-21 Anticipated Funding
      • As this time failure to expend the full SFY 2019-20 budget award due to COIVD-19 will not affect the current anticipated grant award amounts in SFY 2020-21. Please note that the current grant award amounts for SFY 2020-21 are dependent upon the passage and inclusion of these funds in an approved State Budget for SFY 2020-21.
  • Budget Revisions 
    • SFY 2019-20
      • If a budget revision is required for SFY 2019-20, please submit the revision As Soon as Possible into the Pennsylvania Family Support Data System.
        • For SFY 2019-20 planned or known budget revisions must be submitted into the data system by no later than May 1st, 2020.

    • SFY 2020-21
      • Please DO NOT submit any budget revisions for the SFY 2020-21 budgets in the data system until after July 1st, 2020.

MIECHV Funding
(Added 3/24/2020)

HRSA advised states that MIECHV funds must continue to be used to support approved activities within the scope of the MIECHV grant.  Approved MIECHV activities may include funding for staff salaries and benefits for staff performing work under the grant. Please note that MIECHV grant funding cannot be used to support salary costs for MIECHV-funded staff that are reassigned to non-MIECHV duties.  If MIECHV-funded staff are reassigned to support non-MIECHV state and/or local emergency response efforts, they may not continue to be paid with MIECHV funds.  All MIECHV funding must support approved MIECHV activities.  


  • Some emergency response activities, such as assisting families in emergency planning and providing parenting and other supports during this time of social isolation, are within the scope of the MIECHV grant.


  • Please contact your Family Support Consultant if you have any questions or clarification regarding appropriate use of MIECHV grant funds. We will collect these questions and submit them to our Federal Project Officer at HRSA. 

Staff Reassignment 

  • If MIECHV-funded staff are reassigned to support state or local level response efforts please inform your Family Support Consultant and your model representative if appropriate.

Home Visit Suspension Message
(Added 3/17/2020)

During the COVID-19 emergency face to face Family Support and Home Visiting services should be suspended.  The duration of the suspension will be in line with the closure of the school districts within each community. The Department of Human Services along with the Office of Child Development and Early Learning encourages all programs to follow their Evidence-Based Home Visiting or Family Support models’ guidance regarding tele practices or virtual services for families.  Home Visitors and Family Support providers should attempt to contact families to notify them of these changes. 

At this time, we believe all Grantees will continue to receive payments during this time. Grantees should work within their agencies policies to ensure grant funded Home Visiting and Family Support staff are paid during the suspension of services as long as they continue to work.  Home Visiting and Family Support staff that continue to work during this time should be:

  • Reaching out to families to address needs
  • Supporting families through tele/virtual visits based upon model guidance
  • Completing trainings and exploring Professional Development opportunities

Trainings and Resources – Updated 4/20/2020

Supporting Health and Well-being of Home Visitors and Family Support Staff

  • Family Support and Home Visiting Conference Online
  • Autism Navigator 
    • View the menu on the right for the links to the Autism Navigator Trainings.
  • Be Strong Families 
    • Be Strong Families is pivoting to provide virtual Parent Cafes and professional development opportunities; and
    • Dr. Bob Sege started a blog series about Love in the Time of Coronavirus with practical tips for parents, based on the Health Outcomes of Positive Experiences (HOPE) initiative.
  • Breastfeeding Resources
    • The Centers for Disease Control and Prevention has released Tips to Prevent COVID-19 while Pregnant or Breastfeeding. Please review the information on this page as needed, in regards to pregnant women, infants, and breastfeeding. 
  • Child Abuse Prevention Month (April 2020)
    • The Wolf Administration encourages all Pennsylvanians to protect children and other vulnerable populations from all forms of physical, sexual, emotional abuse, and harm. The Department of Human Services (DHS), and the Office of Child Development and Early (OCDEL), believes that protecting vulnerable Pennsylvanians from abuse and neglect is a shared responsibility. Especially as we are in this unprecedented public health crisis, DHS encourages all Pennsylvanians to educate themselves on potential signs of abuse and make the call to ChildLine if you suspect abuse or neglect. Research shows that during a time of crisis, instances of child abuse and neglect can increase. In an effort to spread awareness and assist Family Support programs during these times, OCDEL would like to share the following resources and encourage you to spread awareness.

    • The U.S. Department of Health and Human Services is working to assist programs in spreading the word by releasing National Child Abuse Prevention Month 2020: Strong and Thriving Families. On this resource page your agency can view graphics, sample social media posts, sample messaging, and key facts with statistics.
    • Prevent Child Abuse America is working to raise awareness that April is Child Abuse Prevention (CAP) Month, “a time to act collectively to raise awareness and empower people across the nation to play a role in making great childhoods happen. Throughout CAP Month, and in light of the COVID-19 pandemic, we’re reinforcing the message that “Everyone can make great childhoods happen—especially you, especially now!” Please take the time to review Prevent Child Abuse America’s resources on Tips for Staying Connected.
    • The National Association of School Psychologists recently released an article, Helping Children Cope With Changes Resulting From COVID-19. In addition to English, this resource is available in Spanish, Chinese, Korean, French, Vietnamese, and Bahasa. This article gives concrete examples on how to stay calm, listen, and offer reassurance to children during this emergency. 
    • Be Strong Families has released COVID-19 Support: Staying Strong and Positive for Ourselves and Our Children During COVID-19, to assist Family Support Programs and families to stay strong  and positive based on each of the protective factors.
    • Sesame Street’s Social Distancing Pioneer Oscar The Grouch Is Reminding Everyone To Stay Home! Sesame Street wants to remind everyone that “your friends on Sesame Street are here to support you during the COVID-19 health crisis. We know that these are very stressful times; daily lives have been disrupted, and families everywhere are trying to create a new sense of normalcy.” View the resources on Caring for Each Other during the COVID-19 pandemic; here resources for parents and providers are discussed, free eBooks are shared, and new videos are offered.
  • Early Intervention Technical Assistance (EITA)  
  • Available Courses that are appropriate for Home Visitors Are:
    • Foundations: Family Centered Services (Self Enrollment)
    • Foundations: Partnering to Build Family Capacity (Self Enrollment)
    • Responsive Routines and Environments (Self Enrollment)
    • Social Emotional Development within the Context of Relationship (Self Enrollment)
    • The Meaning of Behavior and Appropriate Responding (Self Enrollment)
    • Parents Interacting with Infants (PIWI)
    • Assistive Technology for Access and Participation in Typical Early Childhood Settings
    • About Autism in Toddlers
  • EITA Tele-Intervention Job Aid
    • In response to the Coronavirus (COVID-19), Pennsylvania has approved the temporary provision of EI Infant -Toddler service delivery via Tele-Intervention (referred to as TI throughout the resource as job aid) to young children with disabilities and their families. This Tele-Intervention Job Aid, shared by Early Intervention Technical Assistance (EITA), will provide you with an overview and tips to ensure quality practices continue through this temporary mode of service delivery. 
  • Mental Health
    • Health Resources and Services Administration (HRSA) contracts with HV-ImpACT to provide programmatic technical assistance to Maternal, Infant, and Early Childhood Home Visiting Program (MIECHV) awardees. A newly released resource, Embedding Infant and Early Childhood Mental Health Consultation in Maternal, Infant, and Early Childhood Home Visiting Programs, provides an overview of what Infant and Early Childhood Mental Health Consultation (IECMHC) entails within the context of home visiting, highlighting some practices of Family Support Programs engaged in this work.
      • Tips and resources are provided for both MIECHV awardees and local implementing agencies to bring IECMHC into their home visiting and Family Support services. This resource also includes a fillable template (Appendix A) to help grantees track their progress on embedding IECMHC within their programs. 
    • The National Child Traumatic Stress Network has COVID-19 related resources for supporting children, as well as general trauma related resources that may be helpful. Attached you will find a Caregiver Resource from the National Association of School Psychologists (NASP) on Helping Children Cope With Changes Resulting from COVID-19 and a Caregiver Resource from the Substance Abuse and Mental Health Services Administration (SAMHSA) on Coping With a Disaster or Traumatic Event. 
  • National Black Maternal Health Week
    • April 11th marked the beginning of National Black Maternal Health Week. You will find a letter from Joshua W. Devine, PharmD, PhD from the Office of the Assistant Secretary for Health | U.S. Department of Health and Human Services. This letter is enriched with resources that can assist programs in awareness, engagement and community building. As part of the observance, OCDEL thanks all programs for their efforts that improve maternal health and reduce disparities in pregnancy-related deaths across the United States.
  • Nurse-Led Care Consortium – Nursing-Legal Partnership
    • Beginning on April 2, the National Nurse-Led Care Consortium is hosting a learning collaborative featuring the Nursing-Legal Partnership. Through four 1-hour virtual sessions, the learning collaborative will discuss planning, implementation, and sustainability considerations with participants interested in learning more about integrating legal services and public health nursing into their organizations. Participation in the learning collaborative is free and continuing education credit will be available. For more information contact [email protected]. Register here for this Learning Collaborative.
  • NonProfit Center at La Salle
    • The Nonprofit Center at La Salle University’s School of Business has been in the business of nonprofits since 1981, strengthening the nonprofit sector through professional education, consulting and leadership development. They have helped build the capacity of more than 30,000 nonprofit professionals, as the largest and most comprehensive capacity-building organization for nonprofits in the Greater Philadelphia region. Through these difficult times, The Nonprofit Center has opened their video library, to continue to offer support and guidance that applies to our current situation of having virtual meetings and expert information on fundraising, governance, communication, and many other topics. 
  • Pennsylvania Coalition Against Domestic Violence (PCADV)
    • For some victims of intimate partner violence (IPV) or abuse, home is not always the safest place to be. The Pennsylvania Coalition Against Domestic Violence has resources for Coronavirus (COVID-19) and domestic abuse. Please take the time to review resources and understand the impact of victims and survivors here:  
  • Remote Home Visitation: Supporting Clients Experiencing Intimate Partner Violence in the Time of COVID-19
    • Given the COVID 19 pandemic, and the shift to virtual home visitation, OCDEL recognizes that is very difficult for home visitors to determine client safety, confidentiality and promote healthy relationships. The “stay at home” recommendations for communities can increase the risks for survivors of Domestic Violence (DV)/Intimate Partner Violence (IPV) and their children. The lack of privacy for conversations and heightened isolation makes it difficult to assess the home environment and figure out if coercion and abuse are happening to a client.
    • This webinar scheduled for April 22, 4-5:30 pm Eastern Time, is dedicated to evolving promising practices for home visitors within a virtual space to help caregivers who may be experiencing coercion and abuse from their partner, and to help them and their children be safer – but offered virtually. Further information and webinar registration details can be found here.  
  • Rent and Utilities 
    • Contact the utility company directly first for any emergency programs they may have. There is currently an order by the PUC (oversees utility companies) and the Governor (Proclamation of Disaster) that there be NO shutoffs for any utilities until the PUC or Governor lifts the order, so if you are struggling to pay, you will not lose electricity, water, etc. You may also contact Urban League if you are struggling with rent and/or utilities because of losing your job/hours to the virus. You can call Urban League at 412-227-4164 to be screened and apply. 
  • Pennsylvania Severe Weather Week (April 20-24th, 2020)
    • With the start of the PA Severe Weather Awareness Week (April 20-24, 2020), and the ongoing pandemic, PEMA and the PA DOH have approved the following statement and guidance pertaining to severe weather sheltering.  This pertains to individuals as well as facilities.
    • “Any actions to protect yourself from immediate threats to life safety should take priority, such as sheltering during severe weather. However, whenever possible, all COVID-19 protective action guidance should be followed as long as it does not slow response or cause greater harm.”
    • While tornado-centric, the guidance provided by the American Meteorological Society (AMS) is a good recommended practice for severe weather sheltering during the pandemic. 
  • STEM Starts Now
    • Aimee E. Ketchum, Owner/Creator Aimee’s Babies, LLC, is offering free subscriptions of STEM Starts Now to organizations that serve children age 0-5 and are closed. Interested organizations can e-mail Aimee and she will provide them with a code for all of their families to keep children on track developmentally and continue to work on kindergarten readiness skills!  Aimee’s Babies, LLC will be providing free subscriptions of STEM Starts Now to pre-schools, child care centers and organizations that serve children age 0-5 from now until the end of the calendar year to provide families with support, education, and activities to do with young children. STEM Starts Now provides weekly e-newlsetters newborn to 12 months, then monthly e-newsletters 13-60 months, filled with developmental information, videos, activities, and kindergarten readiness tips. They have included special articles on talking to children about the coronavirus, stress relief for parents, and activities to do while home-bound. If interested, please e-mail us at [email protected] and she will provide you with a unique code for your organization to provide to all the families you serve with children ages 0-5.
  • Smoking Cessation
    • Quit4Kids acknowledges that because the coronavirus that causes COVID-19 attacks the lungs, it could be an especially serious threat for those who smoke tobacco, marijuana, or for those who vape. Mom’s Quit Connection for Families’ Quit for Kids Program continues to operate as usual during this difficult time. They offer free, one on one counseling services, now by phone and continue to serve pregnant women, parents, partners, family members and care givers of children up to 8 years old. Provider referrals are accepted as usual along with self-referrals by phone or by registering on the and websites. 
  • Tips for Families on Tele-intervention for Families
    • Tip-sheet. Many of your Families may be preparing for Tele-intervention services for the first time. The following information will help your families to know what to expect and how you can prepare. In this tip sheet, we will refer to any home visitors and family support providers as a Home Visitor.
    • Your Home Visitor and Agency information may be added at the bottom of the template.
  • Unemployment
    • Eligibility is expanded and the week waiting period is suspended related to the virus. Please read the information carefully as you are expected to keep submitting claims even if it isn’t approved yet:
  • WIC
    • The Special Supplemental Nutrition Program for Women, Infants, and Children (WIC) provides federal grants to states for supplemental foods, health care referrals, and nutrition education for low-income pregnant, breastfeeding, and non-breastfeeding postpartum women, and to infants and children up to age five who are found to be at nutritional risk. 
    • If you do not already receive it, please apply! Families and caregivers may receive WIC until your child is 5 years old. 
  • Working Remotely
    • Finding Your Campfire: Supporting Newly Remote Teams is a series of three webinars aimed at newly remote teams, which draw upon my wider work around Social Leadership, Community Building, Storytelling, and Trust. The shift to remote work is a disruptive one for many individuals and teams: the change involves uncertainty, fear, and opportunity, almost in equal measure. Without care, some people will be disadvantaged or left behind. It is easy for narratives to emerge from fear and doubt that can lead people to lack barriers and boundaries, or to despair and lack of focus.
    • Additionally, Child Trends has released the following resource, Telehealth in infant mental health home visiting. This document reviews the unexpected transition to technology to as the current medium to support families. 

Concrete Supports – 4/06/2020

Why Is This Protective Factor Important?

Caregivers feel secure when they are able to meet their family’s day-to-day needs such as housing, food, and health care, education, counseling, and legal services.  They are able to meet these needs when they know where to find help.

Preventing Child Abuse With Concrete Supports 

Partnering with caregivers to identify and access resources in the community may help prevent the stress that sometimes precipitates child maltreatment. Providing concrete supports may also help prevent the unintended neglect that sometimes occurs when parents are unable to provide for their children. A couple ways concrete supports can be provided are to: Ask caregivers to identify one concrete need. Come up with a list of three possible avenues to get the need met.

Check out these Action Sheets from the Center for the Study of Social Policy (CSSP), which provides information about each of the Strengthening Families TM Protective Factors, how to recognize the protective factor in families and activities families can do to build this protective factor!

Resources For This Protective Factor

Accessing concrete supports during this unprecedented time has gotten a little easier with the support of The Department of Human Services (DHS) newly developed Support & Referral Helpline.

Be Strong Families Vitality Webinars will be offered during the week of April 6th, 2020 and can be accessed here.

Have you ever considered partnering with the business sector as a concrete support for your program in the prevention of child abuse & neglect in your community? Watch the Children’s Bureau’s Pre-Recorded Digital Dialogue on how to engage businesses and other partners in child abuse & neglect prevention efforts.

In recognition of Child Abuse Prevention Month, the Philadelphia Children’s Alliance will be hosting an upcoming webinar titled, “Promoting Family Support and Child Well-Being in Supportive Communities” on April 9th from 10:00 – 11:30 a.m. See the flyer here.

The Children’s Bureau on Child Abuse & Neglect will host a virtual event on Tuesday, April 21, 2020 from 10:00 AM – 12:30 PM highlighting a San-Francisco based Family Resource Center and their work around relationship building with families. You can register here.

For assistance with Substance Use Disorder, resources for online recovery meetings and podcasts can be accessed through the Department of Drug and Alcohol Programs

Many of your Families may be preparing for Tele-intervention services for the first time. The following information will help your families to know what to expect and how you can prepare. In this tip sheet, we will refer to any home visitors and family support providers as a Home Visitor. Your Home Visitor and Agency information may be added at the bottom of the template.    

Further resources on how to incorporate this protective factor into your work with families can also be found in the handout adapted from the Children’s Trust Fund Alliance.

Our Communities’ Response

Community Prevention Partnerships (CPP) in Berks county is providing concrete supports by the car load:

“We set up an emergency response team to encourage families to stay home and practice social distancing. Any client who needs diapers, wipes, or food contacts their home visitor. The PAT supervisor, NFP supervisor and myself have our cars loaded with bags of food (non- perishable but supplemented with milk or fruit as we can), diapers, wipes and a limited amount of formula. We have a hygiene/sanitation procedure where we drop off the items on the porch or hand off at the door. We have served about 102 families and 450 individuals since last Monday. ~ Barb Werner (Executive Director)

Interested in sharing something positive from your community? Please send a message to your designated Family Support Consultant or Technical Assistance Specialist!

Social Media

Join The Children’s Bureau in spreading the word to prevent child maltreatment by including #NCAPM2020 and #childabusepreventionmonth to join the conversation!

Social Emotional – 4/13/2020

Why Is This Protective Factor Important?

Family and child interactions help children develop the ability to communicate clearly, recognize and regulate their emotions and establish and maintain relationships. Building social and emotional competence in children help children develop a positive cultural identify and interact in a diverse society.

Preventing Child Abuse With Social and Emotional Competence in Families 

Partner with families to help caregivers foster their child’s social and emotional development. When caregivers have a strong, nurturing bond with their child, it helps children to be able to express their feelings, which makes parenting less stressful and we know that stress can sometimes lead to maltreatment. Providing families with tips to develop their child’s social and emotional competence may also support the prevention of the unintended neglect that sometimes occurs when parents are unable to provide nurturing support for their children. A couple ways family support professionals can help parents to build their child’s social and emotional competence are:

Check out the National Center for Pyramid Model Innovation’s Family Engagement page, filled with resources for caregivers and families:

Help Us Have a Good Day: Positive Strategies for Families (Spanish)

Help Us Stay Calm: Strategies that help you and your child during challenging behavior (Spanish)

Check out these Action Sheets from CSSP, which provides more concrete ways that you can help families build Social Emotional Competence with their families!

Resources For This Protective Factor

Accessing concrete supports, and building social and emotional help, during this unprecedented time has gotten a little easier with the support of The Department of Human Services (DHS) newly developed Support & Referral Helpline.

Learning to cope with grief is an important aspect of building social and emotional competence. During this time, grieving may be especially difficult for families and children. Highmark Caring Place: A Center for Grieving Children, Adolescents, and Their Families has released COVID-19 Resources for Grieving Families to provide extra resources to families. During such challenging times, the Highmark Caring Place’s pledge becomes even more meaningful: “I am here for you. You are here for me. We are here for each other.”

Zero to Three released a Parenting Resource, Staying Connected While Separated from Your Young Child, which reviews ideas to keep parent-child connections strong even if caregivers cannot be together with their child.

Zero to Three is offering a free webinar series, Addressing Abuse and Neglect During COVID-19, which addresses how stress and abuse could be affecting children, families, and professionals during this pandemic.

The National Center for Pyramid Model Innovation’s Family Engagement page has Family Articles on: 

Teaching Your Child to: Cooperate With Requests (Spanish)

Teaching Your Child to: Identify and Express Emotions (Spanish)

Responding to Your Child’s Bite (Spanish)

Our Communities’ Response

Finding Fun in Quarantined Philly: Dozens of Philadelphia caregivers and parents are finding solace in a social-distance-friendly activity that’s sweeping cities around the nation: the rainbow hunt. Colorful rainbows are starting to pop up in Philadelphia, entire neighborhoods have come together online to participate. Residents create some kind of rainbow art and hang it visibly in their windows, and then parents lead their kids on walks to find them. It’s an excuse to get outside and see your neighborhood, while keeping a safe separation to prevent the viral spread.

Interested in sharing something positive from your community? Please send a message to your designated Family Support Consultant or Technical Assistance Specialist!

Social Media

The Highmark Caring Place is sharing a new social media campaign! The Highmark Caring Place knows that our world looks very different these days. The COVID-19 pandemic has left us feeling anxious, scared and isolated. At the Highmark Caring Place, they believe that even in the darkest times, finding HOPE is always possible. Across the world, the butterfly is recognized as a symbol of transformation, endurance and HOPE. Using the butterfly as our basis, we have created a social media campaign called Holding On To HOPE. This is an opportunity for all of us to come together and Hold On To HOPE for everyone affected by the COVID-19 pandemic.

Please review the Highmark Caring Place Campaign for further details, and how we can all work on Holding On To Hope! #hope4COVID19.


For Family Support Programs all resources provided in this email will be posted the next day to: under the appropriate Protective Factor heading. Please look for Social and Emotional Competence in the menu on the right hand side of the page.

 The Office of Child Development and Early Learning (OCDEL) believes that protecting vulnerable Pennsylvanians from abuse and neglect is a shared responsibility. Especially as we are in this unprecedented public health crisis, the teams encourages all Pennsylvanians to educate themselves on potential signs of abuse and make the call to ChildLine if you suspect abuse or neglect. 

ChildLine is available 24/7 to anyone wishing to report child abuse and general child well-being concerns at 1-800-932-0313 and at ChildLine response will not change because staff are teleworking from their homes. 

Social Connections – 4/20/2020

Why Is This Protective Factor Important?

People need people.  Specifically, caregivers need people who care about them.  They need someone (or ideally a few people) who can be a non-judgmental listener, who they can call when concerned, need to vent, or to share an exciting moment. Healthy social connections provide a sense of belonging, validation and encouragement. This protective factor promotes creating social networks that support positive parenting practices. Social connections stimulate community building, and encourage the opportunity to give back by helping others.  It is valuable to be able to help someone else at a time when we might feel helpless.

Figure 1 Elements of Social Connections from “Branching Out and Reaching Deeper” Charlyn Harper Browne, Ph.D. CSSP

Preventing Child Abuse with Social Connections 

Social isolation is strongly connected to child maltreatment. This protective factor encourages strengthening the positive social connections for caregivers that reduce isolation. At this time of staying physically distant from people other than those in our household, we may feel an even stronger need to connect. Conversely, we may feel stress from being too close with the members of our household. 

Some ways family support professionals can help caregivers to build their social connections and reduce stress 

Use social media such as Facebook as a way to connect, not to compare.

Take time away from screens and disconnect from media.

Play a game with those in the house.

Encourage mutual support among families through offering to connect families via telephone or email or social media (with permission).

Provide opportunities to contribute to the community.

Some internet activities that might be fun to do together with others in the house

Take a virtual walk in the forest, especially if you’re not somewhere that you can take easy advantage of nature (length 30:41)

Check out 10 of the world’s best virtual museum and art gallery tours(lengths vary)

And for kids (and kids at heart), take a virtual field trip to a zoo (lengths vary)

Check out these Action Sheets from CSSP, which provides more concrete ways that you can help families build Social Connections!

Resources for This Protective Factor

The Wisconsin Child Abuse and Prevention Board developed “Five for Families”.  This webpage includes videos in which parents describe the importance of Connecting with Others (social connections).

Some suggestions from Georgia Division of Family and Children Services
Prevention and Community Support Section
 about staying close to friends and family despite the coronavirus: video call grandparents; plan virtual gatherings with friends; and spend quality time without screens. There is practical information about each protective factor. 

Child Information Gateway offers a course, “Train Staff With Protective Factors in Practice Vignettes” that might be useful.

The Children’s Trust Fund Alliance states that “Child neglect is the most prevalent form of child maltreatment and also the least clearly defined, understood and publicly recognized.” Check this website for information, strategies and interventions that promote preventing child neglect

Our Communities’ Response

“Alone, we can do so little; together we can do so much.” Helen Keller

The Family Resource Center of Blair County has been working hard to keep their families engaged during COVID-19. Families were asked to submit photos of their activities. The Center then compiled these photos into a slideshow.

Monessen Family Center understands that kitchens are made to bring families together. Recently, they asked their families to cook together, giving children the chance to help prepare a meal.

Interested in sharing something positive from your community? Please send a message to your designated Family Support Consultant or Technical Assistance Specialist!

Social Media

While social media, Zoom and other internet applications have allowed many of us to remain connected, the constant flow of information could be overwhelming.  As we remind families to stay connected via the web and smart phones, also encourage quiet time.  This article by Steve Hickman, PSY.D provides interesting insights and tips.

The Wisconsin Prevention Board also provides “Ideas for Connecting with Others Online” which includes many great ideas to support families and programs using social media.

The Children’s Trust Alliance, a leading advocate for child abuse and neglect prevention, offers professional development about the Strengthening Families™ Protective Factors and partners with parents to develop tools and a social media to share the protective factors with each other. 

The Children’s Bureau, within the U.S. Department of Health and Human Services, funds the National Child Abuse Prevention Month initiative each April on the Child Welfare Information Gateway has release a social media campaign that you can use in your community.

At this time when access to health care is so important recognize that there are inequities in the system.  Help families advocate for themselves and for reforms. The National Institute for Children’s Health Quality has launched a campaign about health equity, National Minority Health Month Social Media Resources.  

Be Strong Families offers daily webinars at 12PM CT (English) and 1:30PM CT (Spanish). These are opportunities for parents and staff members to share with and learn from each other as they build their personal plan for navigating the COVID-19 pandemic through building protective factors. Learn more about the webinars and register for them here.

Parental Resilience – 4/27/2020

Why This Protective Factor Matters

Bouncing back. Getting up when you fall down. Staying strong when things are tough. These are all ways we have probably heard resilience defined. Building resilience is particularly important for caregivers because we know that raising children is a joy-filled but stressful job. Resilient caregivers not only bounce back from life challenges, but also those faced through parenting like soothing a colicky baby, handling temper tantrums, and navigating the tween and teen years. Caregivers also bounce forward from difficulties, applying what they learned from one challenge to the next one that comes their way. This builds their self-efficacy and confidence as caregivers.

How This Ties to Child Abuse Prevention & How to Talk About This

When caregivers have resilience, they are able to cope with stressors that come their way. They know how and when to dedicate time to take care of themselves. They know when it is time to count to 10, take a breather, and use positive parenting techniques to face the toughest challenges from their children instead of resorting to harsh punishment. And most importantly resilient caregivers can buffer their children from stress and continue to providing a loving and nurturing environment – even when times are difficult. 

Resources for This Protective Factor

One of the best ways family support professionals can help parents to build resilience is to offer ways to reduce stress and build coping strategies.

Sesame Street has created A Moment to Yourself a PSA featuring Elmo’s dad letting caregivers know that they are doing great in this new normal and it’s ok to take time for themselves. Sesame Street also has great tips for caregivers on their Caring for Each Otherwebpage, including a Self Care for Parents tip sheet. 

The Wisconsin Child Abuse and Neglect Prevention Board’s website for caregivers Five for Families has excellent resources for Building Inner Strength for caregivers. 

Florida State University’s Center for Prevention and Early Intervention Policy (the developers of the Partners for a Healthy Baby curriculum) is hosting a webinar called Strengthening Resiliency to help home visitors support families to build this protective factor. They also have a great page of resources to support families during COVID-19.

Concerns about delays with their child’s development can be stressful for families. Connecting with Early Intervention (EI) provides much needed supports. EI is still here for families during COVID-19! Check out the flyer to learn more about EI services during COVID-19 and as always – stay connected through their portal

It’s important for dads to be resilient too! Check out this brief on Father Involvement and the Five Protective Factors from the National Fatherhood Initiative.

Check out these Action Sheets from the Center for the Study of Social Policy (CSSP). One suggestion from this resource: to help caregivers reflect on resilience, you could ask “How are you able to meet your children’s needs when you are stressed?”

Our Communities’ Response

The Berks Community Action Program Family Center is helping families manage their stress through a journaling project. Caregivers received a journal to write down their feelings and concerns. A virtual gathering will happen soon to support parents in learning new ways that journaling can promote emotional and mental well-being.

Children’s Aid Society in Clearfield County is helping parents build resilience and providing concrete supports by offering a Group Connection on safe handwashing and making their own cleaning products and hand sanitizer. They provided families with the materials in advance and shared books about handwashing. They also had masks made for all their families and are giving them out with a printable social story (We Wear Masks by Mike McGovern) and information about safe mask wearing. 

Social Media

Laughter builds resilience! Share some Dad Jokes from the National Responsible Fatherhood Clearinghouse on your social media platforms and use #DadJokesRule. While on the website, check out their DadTalk blog for ideas for father-child activities while staying at home and the Programs tab for myriad of resources to make your program father-friendly!

Knowledge of Parenting and Child Development – 5/4/2020

Why This Protective Factor Matters

It is not a surprise to anyone that knowledge about parenting and child development helps a caregiver ‘parent’ more effectively. Understanding child development and parenting strategies that support physical, cognitive, language, social and emotional development provides insight on how to develop a broader range of strategies for positive parenting actions.

As CSSP points out, this protective factor helps to define what parenting looks like when families have good information and skills to help their children at every stage of development.  It is especially important when parents are committed to change the parenting patterns they experienced as children – and need alternatives for their own children.

How This Ties to Child Abuse Prevention & How to Talk About This

When caregivers have an understanding of parenting and child development they are able to better strategize and recognize all the different needs of children during development.  

It is important to acknowledge that what caregivers do, and how they treat children, is often a reflection of the way they were parented. Let caregivers know that if they want to develop their own style of parenting that acquiring knowledge of parenting strategies and child development enables them to look at their past and make different choices in their current parenting practices. Interested in your role? Check out CSSP’s Protective Factors: Action Sheets.

Resources for This Protective Factor

Help caregivers better understand parenting and child development by providing knowledge and support. Check out these 23 easy to read Tip Sheets from the Administration for Children and Families and Children’s Bureau on topics such as: Keeping Your Family Strong; Dealing With Temper Tantrums; andParenting Your Child With Developmental Delays and Disabilities. And many more! Recursos en español.

The Child Mind Institute has released Single Parenting During the Coronavirus Crisis, helping caregivers who find themselves alone during a time that could be overwhelming.

The Center on the Developing Child at Harvard University has released What is COVID-19? And How Does It Relate to Child Development? Please see the infographic, or visit their website to find podcast suggestions!

Looking for a quick bite? This one-minute read, When You’re Too Busy and Too Tired for a Self-Care Practice,discussed how to work on self-care when you’re feeling overwhelmed.

The United Nations Children’s Fund’s (UNICEF) Child Development page offers resources, Mini Parenting Challenges, and family-friendly policies that make a positive difference in families. Bonus? Most of their articles and infographics can be posted to your social media page with the easy click of a button!

An additional resource from the Pennsylvania Family Support Alliance (PFSA): Co-Parenting During A Shelter In Place Mandate: Using the Strengthening Families Protective Factors As A Guide

Our Communities’ Response

The Westmoreland County Behavioral Health |Developmental Services (BH/DS) team is supporting caregivers who are currently pregnant or postpartum during COVID-19 through The Postpartum Depression Project and virtual support. Please see the flyerWestmoreland Moms COVID Support Group.

Interested in sharing something positive from your community? Please send a message to your designated Family Support Consultant or Technical Assistance Specialist!

Social Media

Every Mother Counts has created shareable social media templates for agencies and friends to share to celebrate the #MaternalHealthHeroes since the outbreak of COVID-19. If you tag @everymomcounts, they’ll do the best to repost you!

Not only was April Child Abuse Prevention Month, but it was also the Month of the Military Child. This is was a special time to honor the sacrifices made by families worldwide. In observance of this month, the Military Community and Family Policy program collaborated with key partners to celebrate and support military children. They’re featuring resources from across programs to help caregivers and families discover more support they can turn to throughout the year. Check out Military OneSource’s Toolkit, and the Month of the Military Child 2020 Fact Sheet which describes how parents can access free positive parenting classes that teach empowering skills! 

The 2020 Census is underway! It is important to know that there are 2020 Census Operational Adjustments Due to COVID-19Want to learn more about the revised schedule? Visit the United States Census page to learn more about the status of current operations.

Trying to get your families to make themselves count? The National Institute for Children’s Health Equity have released a Census Social Media Toolkit, which helps to ensure that all children and families receive the resources and representation they deserve!

Healthy Outcomes from Positive Experiences (HOPE)

The Family Support Team recognizes that during these trying times it is important to assist families with HOPE. Many of us have learned about the lasting impact that adverse childhood experiences (ACEs) can have on children. The language of Healthy Outcomes from Positive Experiences (HOPE), developed and promoted by a team from the Center for Community-Engaged Medicine at Tufts Medical Center, “is a new way of seeing and talking about experiences that support children’s growth and development into healthy, resilient adults.” It uses a positive lens to consider how positive experiences can help to protect children from adverse experiences and even become the foundation for healing.

HOPE reminds us that “even in the face of adversity, key positive experiences help us heal.” The four building blocks that form the foundation for positive experiences include relationships, environment, engagement, and social and emotional development. Like the Strengthening Families™ Protective Factors, these building blocks are protective and promotive – they act as buffers and actively promote well-being. Sege and Harper Browne identify the connection between caregiver and child as guiding principle of HOPE, stating “child and parent health and well-being are inextricably linked. Thus, positive experiences must promote child health, parent health, and a healthy parent–child relationship.” Family support professionals can partner with caregivers to create environments where children benefit from the positive experiences described in each building block.

Focus on Engagement – 5/11/2020

Why This Building Block Matters

All of us, including children, benefit from feeling connected to a community. When we are positively engaged with institutions, our neighborhoods, our culture, and other collective groups we feel valued. By having meaningful ways to contribute we feel a part of something bigger than ourselves and optimistic about our ability to influence the future. During this time of uncertainty during COVID-19, families are stepping up to support one another – forging a sense of connectedness to their local communities and the world. In his recent blog, Dr. Robert Sege points out that children have contributed to the effort to flatten the curve during the pandemic by staying home during the pandemic. This sacrifice for the greater good is a part of civic engagement.

Interested in Learning More? Related Resources

The HOPE team developed worksheets that will help family support professionals and programs to incorporate these concepts into their work. 

Check out The ACES Connection’s mini-blog on Engagement.

Scholastic offers this list of activities that families can do to give back – including some you can do right from your kitchen table!

Looking for more service ideas for youth and families? Check out Youth Service America’s ideas to give back during COVID-19.

Communities are made up of families! Be sure everyone counts – remind them to complete the 2020 Census.

One way adults make their voices heard is through voting. The deadline to register to vote in the June 2, 2020 primary election. Find out more from Votes PA.

The Center for Family Engagement is a National PTA® Initiative that promotes caregiver engagement in children’s education. The Four I’s of Transformative Engagement, the podcast Notes from the Backpack, and Tackling COVID-19 Together are just a few of the great resources you can find on this website. 

The National Center for Families Learning has a robust resources section to help programs consider how they can intentionally engage families in their child’s education. 

Our Communities’ Response

CTF grantee United States Committee for Refugees and Immigrants (USCRI) in Erie is promoting caregiver engagement in their child’s learning and supporting families with concrete support in times of need by connecting families with resources in order for their children to be able to engage in online learning.  They have helped families acquire Chromebooks and get internet connections to use for their Google Classroom assignments. Interpreters are available to explain to families how to access online learning.

Interested in sharing something positive from your community? Please send a message to your designated Family Support Consultant or Technical Assistance Specialist!

Social Media

Thinking about using social media to engage families? The Head Start Early Childhood Learning and Knowledge Center offers a set of 15 positive social media messages to support families in uncertain times. While there also check out their guide Using Social Media to Engage Families.

Social Emotional Development – 5/18/2020

Why This Building Block Matters

Children develop social skills, understanding of their emotions and emotional regulation through nurturing, trusting relationships with the adults in their lives. Zero to Three in an article applauding the RISE Act states:“Healthy social-emotional development is the bedrock of brain development. Not only do early relationships set the stage for later relationships, they also give babies the confidence to explore their world and teach them skills like persistence and cooperation so they can be successful learners.”  

Part of supporting children’s development of healthy social and emotional skills is checking in with ourselves as the adults in a child’s life.  Are we aware of our own emotions and able to label how we are feeling?  Can we control our emotions-express happiness, frustration, sadness in ways that do not overwhelm those around us, and keep tension with others separated from our interactions with children? Are we empathetic and able to listen to others and get excited with others as they explore new concepts? Do we model positive relationships-demonstrate respect for others and apologize when we make a mistake? In what ways do we demonstrate responsibility for our choices, choose ways to support others, and affirm others for their efforts?

Parents, family members, neighbors and the professionals such as home visitors, child care workers and teachers all have an impact in the development of children’s social and emotional competence.  The Center for the Study or Social Policy discusses Social and Emotional Competence in children in the “Core Meanings of the Strengthening Families Protective Factors”. It describes actions adults can take: set clear expectations; encourage and reinforce social skills such as greeting others and taking turns; and provide opportunities to solve problems. 

Interested in Learning More? Related ResourcesThe HOPE team developed worksheets that will help family support professionals and programs to incorporate these concepts into their work. 

Edutopia has a series of activities and videos for parents to support their children’s social and emotional learning.

Collaborative for Academic, Social, and Emotional Learning (CASEL), provides guides to evidence based programs and other information for family support professionals.  In response to COVID-19, CASEL CARESprovides links to weekly webinars and other guidance.

The at Family Tools  the Center on the Social and Emotional Foundations for Early Learning provides information for families. 

The Peal Center has resources for families with children who have special needs.  

The National Association for the Education of Young Children (NAEYC) recommends books and activities that promote healthy social and emotional development.

The National Institute for Health Care Management (NIHCM) Foundation is sharing a free webinar, Growing Challenges of Substance Use, Treatment & Recovery During COVID-19. Register now for the May 18th webinar now! 

Our Communities’ Response

The medical staff at Jefferson University Hospital in Philadelphia found a fun and creative way to take a break while boosting morale and building teamwork. The nurses of the Float and Per Diem Pool posted several dance videos, with their latest a performance of Ciara’s “Level Up” song. Watch their video, and see why their dance caught attention of Ciara herself!

Interested in sharing something positive from your community? Please send a message to your designated Family Support Consultant or Technical Assistance Specialist!

Social Media

Thinking about using apps to engage families with social and emotional learning activities? Try Special Ed Tech Tips.

Many people appreciate this video, “Just Breathe” on YouTube.

Environment – 5/25/2020

Why This Building Block Matters

Per Positive Experiences, children who live, learn and play in safe, stable and equitable environments are less likely to experience poor mental and physical health as adults. What is meant by safe, stable and equitable environments?

safe, stable home is where a child is secure and able to get proper nutrition and enough sleep 

An environment with opportunities for high-quality learning

An environment to play and interact with other children safely and equitably

An environment with access to high-quality medical and dental care 

Celebrate the positive moments and work with families to help ensure their child can live, learn and play in safe and nurturing environments.

The Family Support Team wants to wish everyone a safe Memorial Day! The team acknowledges with this holiday comes warmer weather and the opening of public or personal pools. Because drowning is the leading cause of unintentional death in children ages 1-4, it’s important to talk with caregivers and families about environmental safety tips and how to take action when needed. 

Interested in Learning More? Related Resources

The Center for Injury Prevention & Control from The George Washington University is offering a free webinar, Child Home Safety in the Time of COVID: A Neglected Priority, on May 27th. Find more information and register here

The Highmark Caring Place is offering a free webinar, Place Grief Talk Series: Importance of Routines and Rituals While Grieving, on June 3rd

The Center for Schools and Communities, Safe Kids Pennsylvania, offers a vast amount of resources for injury risk areas: car & road safety, home safety, sports play safety and seasonal safety. 

The National Institute for Children’s Health Quality has Safe Sleep Resources for Child-Care Providers, and a Lead Exposure and Children’s Health Social Media Toolkit.  

The Institute for the Advancement of Family Support Professionals offers a free learning module, Promoting Safe and Healthy Homes, for professionals to learn more about potential health concerns in the home and how to assist families in identifying a safety plan. Another helpful module, Infant Care: The ABCs of Safe Sleep for Infants, helps staff prepares families about safe sleep for infants and how to address sleep-related deaths.  

The National Institute of Environmental Health Sciences, Kids Environment and Kids Health offers resources for children, families and professionals related to health, science and environments. Check out their list of resources to teach families about environmental health and safety

The Pennsylvania Bullying Prevention Toolkit from the Center for Safe Schools offers resources for families, educators and professionals serving children, youth and families. 

Our Communities Response

Calling all Flyers fans! Donning a new mask, with the same smooth moves, the Philadelphia Flyers sent their mascot to Delaware County to bring some much-needed cheer to residents! Gritty visited the residents for a safe quarantine firetruck parade

Interested in sharing something positive from your community? Please send a message to your designated Family Support Consultant or Technical Assistance Specialist!

Social Media

The Drowning Prevention Campaign and Toolkit from the American Academy of Pediatricsoffers drowning prevention PSAs, infographics, information for families, social media graphics and advocacy resources. Explore their page to share valuable water safety information with caregivers as we start the summer season! 

Looking for more to tweet and share? Visit the Connecticut Recreation & Parks Association Water Safety: Social Media Toolkit.

Relationships – 6/1/2020

Why This Building Block Matters  

Nurturing, supportive relationships are critical for children to develop into healthy, resilient adults. Individuals that recall having these types of relationships during childhood experience significantly lower rates of depression and poor mental and physical health during adulthood. When working with families, especially vulnerable families affected by trauma, it is important to ask about the types of positive relationships a parent may recall from their childhood. This information can then be celebrated and used to help create opportunities for their children to experience the types of relationships encompassed by this HOPE Building Block.

Interested in Learning More? Related Resources

Exchange Express, in collaboration with Hinge Early Education Brokers and Video Active Productions, has created a free video series ““From Surviving To Thriving: Creating A Way Forward in Challenging Times”. Each video has inspiration, support, and practical advice from experts to help you navigate the rough waters of the COVID-19 public health emergency.

Learn how you can help infants and toddlers develop strong relationships with the people in their lives.

Check out this Webinar from the Head Start Early Learning and Knowledge Center (ECLKC) on Supporting Positive Parent Child Relationships.

Corey Best, member of the HOPE national advisory board, shares his experience as a father and offers ways to support child-father relationships by Engaging Fathers within the HOPE Framework. 

Devereux Center For Resilient Children created the Choose A Family Member of the Week Activity to promote ongoing relationships with members in a child’s family during this time of physical distancing.

Are families wondering how to Keep Kids Connected With Their Friends during this time of physical distancing. Check out these ideas from the National PTA.

Our Communities’ Response

The Schuylkill United Way is based on HOPE –Helping Other People Everyday. They recently established the Schuylkill COVID-19 Response Fund to provide resources to partnering agencies, including Nurse-Family Partnership (NFP), to provide essential aid to those most impacted by the pandemic. Through the generosity of many community donors, the Schuylkill United Way provided Schuylkill County NFP clients with Boyer’s gift cards, and face masks, made locally by the Kepner Scott Shoe Co. Additionally, NFP was also able to purchase diapers and formula for their clients. Nurse-Family Partnership is very grateful for the financial support they have received in achieving their goals of helping their first-time moms be the best they can be.

The Lancaster Parents as Teachers program is currently offering a five-part “Be Strong” series of virtual conversations to create a community of support during these uncertain times. Each conversation is based on one of the five protective factors, and families can learn from each other ways they can keep their family strong. The virtual conversation will be held each Thursday from May 21- June 18.  The invite for the virtual conversations is attached!

Interested in sharing something positive from your community? Please send a message to your designated Family Support Consultant or Technical Assistance Specialist!

Social Media

#WeCareForSeniors Social Media Campaign was launched by the All Seniors Care Living Centres throughout Canada to offer hope and to support seniors in maintaining relationships with their loved ones by writing messages to their loved ones, which were sent out via Instagram by nursing home staff. If you would like to send a message to a resident in an All Seniors Care facility, use the hashtag #WeCareForSeniors in any Instagram post.