Change in Mind Blog

Parental Leave is Good for Brains

In a recent survey of 3,400 U.S. human resources professionals, the Society for Human Resource Management found that only 26 percent of companies offer paid maternity leave and 21 percent offer paid paternity leave.

Even more stunning, the U.S. is the only country among 41 nations that does not mandate paid leave for new parents, according to the Organization for Economic Cooperation and Development. Only three states—California, New Jersey, and Rhode Island—have state-mandated paid leave. … more

Giving Citizens Capacity to Work Together, Communities are Strengthened

“Just knowing that a problem exists—or even being aware of potential solutions—is rarely enough to mobilize a community for action.”

This universal truth for people working in the nonprofit sector, which appears in a recent post on the Substance Abuse and Mental Health Services Administration (SAMHSA) blog, provides an important context for showing that while the sentiment is true, it luckily doesn’t prevent efforts at generating community-wide change. … more

Push for Science-Aligned Policy Has Supporters

During a congressional briefing hosted by U.S. Sen. Heidi Heitkamp (D-ND) in May, we learned once again of Heitkamp’s support for alignment of policy with science and more information about the Campaign for Trauma-Informed Policy and Practice (CTIPP).

The topic of the briefing was the science of trauma and it was organized by CTIPP, a growing group of individuals and groups from all sectors and walks of life that is working to create a better future by promoting trauma-informed policy and practice. … more

What Children Need for Good Mental Health and Learning Environments

Three recent articles discuss brain science and how we can understand and create better lives for children. They identify five things needed for good mental health and how to infuse schools and their staff with trauma-informed practices for children suffering from toxic stress. … more

Cohort Member Features Its Change in Mind Work on Blog

KVC Health Systems, a member of the Change in Mind cohort, offers an inspiring story of strength to explain that, “People can change. Brains can be strengthened. And those of us who find it difficult to manage the stresses of life–whether a child or adult, whether encountering an everyday stress or something more serious–can build the capacity to solve challenges and lead happy, healthy lives.”

In its latest blog post, KVC explains that through positive interactions, the brain actually gets stronger. It goes on to provide details on KVC's work in Change in Mind, saying they are working to align systems and public policy with the latest science to make progress on social issues. … more

Reframing our Work to Communicate it Most Effectively

Staff of the Alliance for Strong Families and Communities and the organizations in its Change in Mind cohort worked closely with the FrameWorks Institute earlier this year to better understand how the narratives and patterns of thinking shape public understanding of brain science and their related work.

Latricia Boone, director of external relations and network mobilization with the Alliance submitted a blog post to ACEs Connection on the January event. It explains in detail how a new narrative is taking shape and how the group learned to “reframe” in order to be more effective in painting a picture of the scope and breadth of human services and how it impacts all members of society. … more

Dreyfus Calls for More Science-Informed Policy

In an opinion column that appears in Youth Today and Juvenile Justice Information Exchange, Susan Dreyfus, president and CEO of the Alliance for Strong Families and Communities, praises actions taken by President Barack Obama and lawmakers to end solitary confinement among young people in the justice system, and especially their use of brain science to inform their decisions. … more

Newspaper Coverage of Toxic Stress in Children Displays Reason for Change in Mind

The civil unrest surrounding the shooting of Michael Brown by a Ferguson, Missouri police officer in August 2014, was well documented and debated for weeks.

But after the national spotlight turned away from Ferguson, the crisis in that city continues. After an 8-year-old girl was killed due to random gunfire in 2015, the St. Louis Post-Dispatch sent its reporters to Ferguson to tell a different story: the story of a public health crisis due to toxic stress that is concentrated because of poverty. … more

Member Says They Can Make a Difference

Sandy Lowe, chief program development officer for Wellspring Family Services in Seattle, a member of the Change in Mind cohort, took a “What if?” approach in her recent blog post on a deadly shooting in Seattle by teenagers living in tents near the city’s Major League Baseball stadium.

In the blog post itled, “We CAN make a difference,” Lowe described how critical support for children’s healthy development, as well as support to families in crises, could not only prevent instances of future violence, but strengthen the entire community. … more

Even Simple Lessons Can be Hard to Learn

In reporting on a new effort by Great Britain to decrease or prevent toxic stress in children, the Washington Post article, “The brain science behind Britain’s new parenting classes,” said, “Behind the controversial new family agenda was a deceptively simple lesson from neuroscience.”

British Prime Minister David Cameron recently announced his proposal to spend more than $100 million over the next five years on “relationship support” or state-backed parenting classes. The Washington Post explained, “An intervention in the early years, he bets, could prevent a host of problems later.” … more

Advancing Implementation Science to Address Adverse Childhood Experiences

Meg Hargreaves of Community Science describes how her organization is helping to advance the science of how to address adverse childhood experiences (ACEs) more effectiveley through its work with Change in Mind and another initiative. 

Research has shown that adverse childhood experiences (ACEs) involving child abuse, neglect, and household violence as well as mental illness, incarceration, and substance abuse are linked to a lifetime of poor health outcomes. ACEs disrupt brain development and harm the immune system, resulting in cognitive impairment, risky health behaviors, chronic disease, and early death. … more

Importance of Unstructured Play Demonstrates Value of Brain Science

It seems improbable that children can concentrate in class right after spending 20 minutes running around the playground. But, it’s actually true.

Dr. Bob Murray, the lead author of “The Crucial Role of Recess in School,” a 2013 policy statement by the American Academy of Pediatrics, said his research shows that children perform better on academic and cognitive activities after returning from a break of unstructured activity. During a National Public Radio story, Murray also argued that children learn critical communication, negotiation, and problem solving skills through unstructured play. … more

Executive Order is Move Toward Greater Understanding and Awareness

Those of us who have been advocating for science-aligned policies that can vastly improve the way we provide services and supports to children, families, and communities celebrated in September with the White House Executive Order encouraging the use of the behavioral sciences when creating federal policies and programs. … more

©2015 Alliance for Strong Families and Communities. All Rights Reserved