New Program Helps Parents Take Next Steps to Recovery

Next StepsA new program in Contra Costa County is helping parents recovering from substance abuse to maintain their sobriety and focus on improving their parenting skills and relationships with their children.

Called Next Steps, the program aims to improve the relationship between parents and children since a healthy parent-child relationship is critical to a child’s optimal social and emotional development.

This relationship, however, is often interrupted or strained by parental substance abuse, which is one of the most common risk factors for child neglect or abuse.  If untreated, parental substance abuse can lead to permanent long-term health concerns or developmental delays in children.  Improving parenting skills and confidence can also prevent parents in recovery from relapsing.

We’re allocating $300,000 to support Next Steps, which is implemented by Contra Costa Health Services (Behavioral Health Services) and Contra Costa ARC/Lynn Center. Our partnership with Contra Costa Health Services nearly doubles the budget for the program by securing an additional $250,000 in matching funds from Medi-Cal. Continue reading

It’s National Children’s Mental Health Awareness Day

One in every five children and adolescents has an identifiable mental health need. Yet many of them will never get help.

Today is National Children’s Mental Health Awareness Day, an annual campaign to raise awareness about the importance of children’s mental health to their overall health and development. The theme of this year’s campaign is how children can demonstrate resilience and overcome the effects of trauma.

A growing body of research has proven that intense adverse experiences such as witnessing domestic violence, severe maternal depression, or physical abuse or neglect can cause traumatic stress in children. This stress – often referred to as “toxic stress” – can interfere with how children learn and affect how a child’s brain develops.  This is particularly alarming given that nearly half of all substantiated child abuse and neglect cases in Contra Costa County involve children up to age five. Continue reading