Photo courtesy of Forestdale, Inc.

BY KIRSTEN E. PAULSON

The New York City Administration for Children’s Services (ACS) will be rolling out the Strong Families NYC Initiative, components of which are modeled after a Forest Hills-based child welfare organization.

Forestdale Inc. uses the Attachment and BioBehavioral Catchup (ABC) model, conceived of by Dr. Mary Dozier, whose research addressed the key role of cortisol, the stress hormone that regulates a person’s internal clock. Children who have faced adversity often have trouble regulating their cortisol levels. The ABC model, which has been used at Forestdale since 2011, has been highly effective in promoting attachment and bonding between caregivers and infants and toddlers up to 3 years old.

“Infants and toddlers often exhibit a variety of behavioral, emotional and physiological problems that can push caregivers away. ABC helps these caregivers and children form healthy attachments and develop the ability to regulate their response to stress, helping to enhance positive parent-child interactions. We were so thrilled to learn that ACS had incorporated this model into their initiative and are excited to continue our good work,” Forestdale Executive Director Anstiss Agnew said.

“Through Strong Families NYC, we will work with our partners to raise the bar and improve outcomes. This initiative will bring targeted and intensive trauma therapy and other practices built on the science of what works to many more New York City children and families,” ACS Commissioner Gladys Carrion said.

The ABC model will begin in a few high-need neighborhoods in 2015 and will expand to all five boroughs over the next three years.

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