Dr. T. Berry Brazelton, A Memorial Minute

Read The Faculty of Medicine, Harvard University’s memorial minute in honor of Dr. T. Berry Brazelton.

Census 2020 – Every Child Counts: Remembering Betty Bardige

It is with deep sadness that I share with you the unexpected passing of Betty Bardige, a long-time Touchpoints board member and a tireless advocate for children and families. The Brazelton Touchpoints Center has been asked by several partner organizations about what family-facing nonprofit organizations can do to help ensure an accurate census.  As Betty reminded me just a few weeks before her death, it is vital that all children and families be counted, and, she insisted, all childcare providers too.

The people counted this spring -or not – will determine your local community’s share of nearly $900 billion per year in federal funding for schools, roads, public health, SNAP, CHIP, school breakfast and lunch, and other services.  The data collected by the census will also shape political representation in Congress and state legislatures.

It has never been more important for organizations that care about children and families to ensure every child and family is counted.  For most of the past decade, Congress and the Administration have cut Census Bureau budgets.  Inadequate funding, combined with increased reliance on online data collection, and fears over how census data may be used, are driving deep concerns that the Census Bureau may undercount children and families that are economically disadvantaged, residents who speak English as a second language, immigrants, and others that may be unable or unwilling to share information.

In your nonprofit organization roles, you can assist in providing information to families about the census, helping them understand what it is, how the information collected will be used, and why it is so important to be sure they are counted.  Some families may be afraid to provide information or to interact with census workers.  It is important to know that the census does not include any questions about immigration status, that data collected through the census cannot be shared with immigration enforcement agencies or law enforcement agencies, and cannot be used when determining any individual’s or family’s eligibility for government benefits. The census is also quick and easy to fill out.

The Brazelton Touchpoints Center is pleased to provide the following resources to help you help the families you work with feel as safe and confident as possible so that they and their children are properly counted.  Census Day takes place on April 1, but most households can start participating around mid-March, when letters with instructions are scheduled to be sent to 95 percent of homes around the country.  Data collection will be continue over the course of about six weeks, at which point the data inputting phase of the 2020 Census will be completed.


Census Advocacy:  What Your Nonprofit Needs to Know

This brief from Bolder Advocacy is a great place to start for nonprofits interested in improving the accuracy of the 2020 census, providing additional background on the serious problems caused by undercounting disadvantaged communities, and offering introductory steps that nonprofits can take to help ensure complete counts in their communities.

Mapping Families that the Census or Your Non-Profit May Find Hard to Count

What is the likelihood of an undercount in the communities you work in?  Mapping Hard to Count (HTC) Communities for a Fair and Accurate 2020 Census has an interactive map highlighting how much of an area’s population may be at risk of an undercount based on prior community response rates.  The map also shows how people in different areas will be contacted by the Census Bureau.

Community Outreach Toolkit and Targeted PSAs

The official United States Census 2020 website has a partner toolkit focused on community outreach that is designed to help organizations identify the barriers to participation in local communities and apply evidence-based practices to better connect with individuals facing common challenges.  The toolkit includes shareable graphics highlighting the fact that data collected through the census cannot be shared with immigration enforcement agencies or law enforcement agencies, and cannot be used when determining eligibility for government benefits.

Looking for video resources?  The official PSA toolkit has several short, informational videos covering how to take the census, how census data will be secured and used, and more, along with PSAs appealing directly to immigrants, American Indian and Alaskan Natives, and Native Hawaiian Pacific Islanders.  A complete list of official census materials can be found here.

Get Out the Count Toolkit

The Get Out the Count Toolkit from Census Counts 2020 is meant to provide community-based organizations and other stakeholders with information on the importance of the census and tools to help ensure its accuracy.  Included in the background materials are fact sheets examining the risks and adverse outcomes of undercounting the following hard-to-count communities:  Middle Eastern and North African Americans, American Indians and Alaska Natives, African Americans, Asian Americans and Native Hawaiians and Pacific Islanders, Latinos, and young children and their families.

Language Guides

The Census Bureau recently released census guides in 59 different languages with instructions on how to complete the census.  These guides include a brief overview of the purpose of the census and the confidential nature of the data collected before providing step by step directions for respondents.  Video language guides will be made available soon.

We hope this information is helpful to you and the communities in which you work.  Thank you for all you do to help lift up the voice of children and families.

Remembering the Baby Inside Each of Us

Noah, Age 2

Berry Brazelton liked to say he played with babies. His fellow Texan, pediatrician Sally Provence, danced with them. “Sally,” he asked, “how do you get inside a baby’s head?”  “Well,” she replied, “isn’t there a baby inside each of us?”

It can be difficult to remember that baby. Yet those early experiences – what we are grateful for, needed, wish we hadn’t missed out on, or wish we’d been protected from – are a guide to what the world needs now.

We witness children harmed by the decisions that adults make – whether at the border, in far off countries, just down the road, or in our own homes. Not knowing what to do, or knowing we are not doing enough to protect all our children, can also make it hard to remember the baby each of us once was. But beginning with the way we use self-understanding to understand, care about and act on behalf of others, our human capacities evolved precisely so that we could ensure that all our children would thrive. To find hope in this may sound dreamy, but dreams help us see beyond reality to possibility.

Every newborn baby is possibility become reality. Birth may be one of the only universally revered miracles, whether we celebrate it in December, the spring, or every day. Each new life reminds us of why we are here, and why we keep on going. 25 years ago, in war torn Sarajevo, a traumatized young psychologist asked Berry Brazelton how to keep helping in the midst of the hate and destruction. “Play with a baby,” he said. Or dance with one. To heal the baby inside, ourselves, and each other.

Thank you for all you do to protect babies and children, to help them flourish, and restore hope for all of us.

Joshua Sparrow, MD

BTC December Newsletter

In this issue, we pay tribute to our dear friend and colleague, Betty Bardige, a lifetime advocate for ALL children and families, share plans of BTC’s new program innovation, recap the Fall 2019 Learning to Listen conversation series, and share resources, podcasts, and information about upcoming trainings. Check it out here! 

Brazelton Touchpoints Center and Horizons for Homeless Children Partner to Promote Healthy Child and Family Development

The Brazelton Touchpoints Center (BTC), a non-profit organization focused on ensuring that every child will be healthy, succeed as early learners and have the opportunity to thrive, is pleased to welcome Horizons for Homeless Children (Horizons) to the BTC Site Network, a national learning community of organizations, practitioners, and systems of care actively using the Touchpoints Approach in their family engagement strategies.

Horizons for Homeless Children improves the lives of young homeless children and their families through high quality early education, comprehensive family support services, opportunities for play, and advocacy work.  In delivering these services, Horizons reaches more than 2,000 young homeless children each week in Massachusetts through three early education centers and more than 120 shelter-based Playspaces.

The experience of homelessness is a traumatic one, particularly for young children experiencing family homelessness.  Through its work with homeless children and families, Horizons has learned firsthand how important an understanding of early childhood development is in helping young children overcome the impact of their negative experiences.

In recognizing the need for its staff to have a deeper understanding of early childhood development, BTC is delivering Touchpoints professional development to Horizons staff.  Touchpoints is an evidence-based approach and training program for family-facing professionals that facilitates a strengths-based mindset to more effectively engage families, giving Horizons staff a toolkit of strategies, tactics, principles and perspectives that helps them engage families and support positive developmental outcomes.

Learn more about our partnership here!

New Paper Published by Dr. Catherine Ayoub on the Effects of Maltreatment on Children’s Communications

Read the Full Paper Here!

Remembering Marlies Zammuto

The Brazelton Touchpoints community mourns the loss of Marlies Zammuto, a colleague, mentor, friend, and lifetime advocate for children and families.

“The key to life is truly living, not just existing. Please take the time for self-care and make room for fun and joy every day. It can sustain you over the most difficult challenges. Thanks to all my family and friends who bring so much sweetness and joy into my life.” – Marlies Zammuto

You can follow this link to see pictures of Marlies enjoying every moment of the life she lived: https://tinyurl.com/1RememberingMarliesZammuto
If you would like to share your own memories of Marlies, please follow this link and include your stories and pictures if you like. The link takes you to a Google Doc that will include everyone’s memories from across the network. https://tinyurl.com/ShareaMemoryofMarlies

Brazelton Touchpoints Center is Hiring for a New Managing Director – Join Our Team Today and Make a Difference!

The Brazelton Touchpoints Center (BTC) seeks a Managing Director with passionate commitment to BTC’s mission, to oversee and manage key aspects of operations and programs, including data driven operationalization and implementation of strategic plans and priorities, and cross-learning and integration across BTC’s rich and varied professional development, organizational learning and change, research and evaluation, and communications and marketing programs.

See full job description here.

Brazelton Touchpoints Center September Newsletter

Read our September Newsletter here! 

Berry Brazelton’s Contributions to Research, Policy, and Practice: Improving Contexts and Conditions for Families with Infants

NAEYC Young Children Journal has featured an article by Joshua Sparrow, MD, Director of the Brazelton Touchpoints Center, that looks back on Dr. T. Berry Brazelton’s work and his devotion to understanding children’s behavior and development, the strengths that parents bring to raising them, and the challenges that parents face. .

Read the full article here.