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    t3 Threads: Changing the Conversation

    Supporting Parents in Recovery

    The number of parents in recovery from mental illness, trauma, homelessness, and substance use is unclear because there is no standardized national data collection.This lack of data leads to a huge gap in service delivery to a sector of the population who is raising children.

    This can be remedied by screening and assessing parents across our health care system to identify needs for specific education and support services--particularly in areas of mental illness, trauma, homelessness, and substance use. This would give families a good chance to receive critical support services to keep them intact and healthy. Children could escape the isolation and helplessness that comes with living with a parent who is ill, but without treatment. Interventions could occur before children are neglected or abused.

    Science-Based Strategies to Support Children Experiencing Homelessness

    Have you ever watched an infant play? I mean really observed them? Try it some time, and while you watch, contemplate this...

    At birth, we have 100 billion neurons, most of which are not connected. Infants form 700 new neural connections every second – tens of thousands of pathways that literally build the architecture of their brains. Through their senses and their relationships, they come to know the external world, and their brain begins to build the systems to understand it. The attention they receive (or don’t) from their primary caregivers, stimulation they receive from their environment, stress they experience and the responses to that stress by those around them reinforce or prune away at their neural connections and promote or hinder cognitive, physical, and social-emotional development.

    Ending Houselessness is not Ending Homelessness

    End Homelessness

    I recently came across a well-researched online article on homelessness in the United States, and the potential for us to end this problem – if we just had a little more political will to fully fund the housing subsidies needed to sweep the streets clean of the chronically homeless population.

    While I am generally pleased to see any journalistic attention paid to this daunting and commonly ignored social blight, I worry about the incompleteness of the conversation.

    First, who are we talking about?

    Children are Mirrors: Viewpoints from a Parent in Recovery

    "It's not only children who grow. Parents do too. As much as we watch to see what our children do with their lives, they are watching us to see what we do with ours. I can't tell my children to reach for the sun. All I can do is reach for it, myself."  ~Joyce Maynard

    As I enter my seventeenth year in recovery, the “buzzards” I set loose during the time I was in the grip of addiction, trauma, mental health challenges, poverty, and homelessness continue to come home to roost. One of my greatest accomplishments in spite of myself during this period was fathering four children. Just about any man can produce a child with a willing partner, but being a father requires far more, and it may take years to learn how to be the best parent possible.

    Not One Child. Not One Night.

    To kick-off Homelessness Awareness Month, we are posting this blog by Ellen Bassuk, MD that originally appeared on Huffington Post on October 8, 2015 at http://www.huffingtonpost.com/ellen-l-bassuk/not-one-child-not-one-nig_b_8258580.html.

    How can it be in a country as affluent as the United States that 2.5 million children are homeless each year? Although the numbers are climbing, family homelessness is absent from our nation's agenda.

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