Debra Sosin, LICSW, Receives Distinguished Alumni Award

We are proud to announce that Debra Sosin, LICSW, project director for Family Connections, has received the Distinguished Alumni of the Year award from the Boston College Graduate School of Social Work. The award was presented at the Diversity + Justice and Alumni Awards Conference at Boston College on Friday, January 27, 2017.

You can learn more about the award here.

2016 in Review – NBO and NBAS Achievements and Milestones

The Brazelton Institute, under the direction of J. Kevin Nugent, PhD, has published a report entitled “2016 in Review – NBO and NBAS Achievements and Milestones.”

The report can be read here.

Brazelton Touchpoints Center National Forum and 20th Anniversary Video Premiere

More than 150 people from all over the U.S. gathered in Providence for two days to reflect on our past and envision our future at the Brazelton Touchpoints Center 2016 National Forum. Most were certified Brazelton Touchpoints trainers, but the group included representatives from a wide range of disciplines, and professional and family roles. Among many others:

  • The founding director of an Oakland program for recently incarcerated fathers, who not only applies Brazelton Touchpoints principles and practices in his daily work but spreads them to other family-facing professionals and organizers in his community
  • A Washington DC pediatrician who is working to ensure that her examining rooms reflect her patients’ diverse heritages, embedding Touchpoints (including theNewborn Behavioral Observations) into her practice.
  • Child welfare workers from Palm Beach County who showed the sustainability of the Touchpoints strategies, tools, and principles. Not only have they fully integrated Touchpoints into their work, they are recruiting with the Touchpoints approach in mind and passing it on to their new co-workers.
  • A mom and dad from one of the newest sites—the Laguna Pueblo—who have become leaders in their community and eagerly participated in the Forum sessions.
  • The director of family engagement forthe Annie E. Casey Foundation’s Campaign for Grade Level Reading, who is exploring bringing Touchpoints to the 240 cities in their network!

Together attendees delved deeply into the core principles and practices of Brazelton Touchpoints, exploring everything from exercises used in the initial training sessions in 1996 to what we’ve learned about impact and what it takes to make sustainable change in organizations, communities, and systems.

At our 20th Anniversary celebration Friday evening, the Brazelton Touchpoints Center Lifetime Contribution Award was presented to “someone who has been there since the beginning,” whose grace, generosity, commitment, and steadying hand shaped our work and our organization—the beloved and much missed Chrissy Brazelton. Two of Dr. Brazelton’s daughters accepted the award on their mother’s behalf. Reception guests then watched an inspirational video produced by Hank O’Karma that captured the breadth and impact of the tools, programs, research base, and network that BTC has built over the past 20 years.

On Saturday, Joshua Sparrow spoke powerfully about the Center’s vision for the future. Executive Director Jane Tewksbury closed the conference by leading everyone in a word cloud exercise. She asked us to share our feelings in a single word.  Collectively, we left feeling inspired, refreshed, reenergized, and feliz (happy), but also, in Touchpoints lingo, “disorganized” and challenged to process and apply all that we have learned in order to take Touchpoints to the next level.

Watch the 20th Anniversary Video here!

U.S. Department of Education Hosting a Google Hangout on Early STEM on Wednesday, July 13

The U.S. Department of Education is hosting a Google Hangout as a follow-up to the White House’s symposium on Early STEM. Tune in on Wednesday, July 13 at 3:00 PM EDT for a discussion on using technology to support early STEM learning and follow along on twitter using #STEMStartsEarly

You can register for the “Using Technology to Support Early STEM” Google Hangout here!



Congressional Baby Caucus and Brazelton Touchpoints Center Respond to Opioid Crisis in July 12 Briefing

Communities Can Improve Outcomes for Drug-Exposed Infants and their Families


WASHINGTON, D.C. – 11 July, 2016 – On July 12 from 12-1:20 pm, the Congressional Baby Caucus will host a briefing to highlight innovative approaches to caring for infants with Neonatal Abstinence Syndrome, a growing public health threat stemming from our nation’s opioid crisis.  The briefing will be held in Room 2103 of the Rayburn House Office Building.

According to the National Institute on Drug Abuse, from 2000 to 2012, the number of babies born with Neonatal Abstinence Syndrome (drug withdrawal resulting from exposure to addictive opiates during gestation) quintupled, increasing to nearly 22,000 babies in 2012.   Even more startling is that these levels do not contemplate the explosion in opioid usage experiences over the past several years.

The briefing will focus on innovative approaches that reduce costs and improve outcomes by emphasizing parent inclusion and empowerment in the treatment of these high-risk infants.  Briefing speakers include –

Congresswoman Rosa DeLauro

Dr. Matthew Rogers Grossman, MD, Assistant Professor of Pediatrics; Associate Director, Pediatric Residency Program; Medical Director, Short Stay Unit; Interim Quality and Safety Officer, Yale-New Haven Children’s Hospital.  His innovative approach to engaging parents in care of NAS newborns has reduced average hospital stays from 28 days to 6.

Dr. Joshua D. Sparrow, MD, Director, Brazelton Touchpoints Center, Boston Children’s Hospital and President, Brazelton Touchpoints Foundation.  For the last 20 years, Dr. Sparrow, a child, adolescent, and general psychiatrist, and the Center have worked deeply and for the long haul in community systems – health care, early education, home visiting, child welfare, libraries, schools and more – to develop strengths-based, trauma-informed services that improve outcomes for children and families.

The Honorable Katherine Lucero, Supervising Judge, Juvenile Justice Court Division, Santa Clara, CA, and co-creator of innovative therapeutic court programs including the Family Treatment Court and the Dependency Family Wellness Court.  These approaches have resulted in significant improvements in the lives of children and families, and reduced costs to the foster care, health care, and court systems.

About Brazelton Touchpoints Center

The Brazelton Touchpoints Center was founded in 1996 by Dr. T. Berry Brazelton and colleagues and is based at Boston Children’s Hospital, a Harvard Medical School teaching hospital. Together with families, providers and communities, the Brazelton Touchpoints Center develops and applies knowledge of early childhood development to practice and policy through professional and organizational development, evaluation, advocacy and awareness and serving as a resource for proven practices.  Dr. Sparrow says that, “For twenty years, the Touchpoints Approach has been used by family-facing professionals and institutions around the country to partner with parents of infants and young children.  When parents are struggling with the effects of poverty, trauma, substance abuse and other mental health challenges, health care, child welfare, education and other professionals turn to the Touchpoints Approach to partner with families to find and build on their strengths.”

About FIRST 5 Santa Clara and the Family Courts

The Santa Clara County Courts partnered with FIRST 5 Santa Clara to help end the cycle of families appearing and re-appearing before the courts with substance use and mental health challenges that resulted in the removal to foster care of multiple infants and children.  As part of these reforms, the Touchpoints Approach was implemented as a foundation of practice across the system of care.  To date, Santa Clara County has 565 service providers, including the court and child welfare systems, who practice Touchpoints.

Jolene Smith, CEO of FIRST 5, explains, “We partnered with the dependency and child welfare systems because we wanted to impact the intergenerational cycle of children born to parents who experience trauma and struggle with substance abuse, many of whom are former foster youth themselves.”  In discussing drug court practices, she states, “ In general, most of the drug treatment courts have been adult focused.  We have the opportunity, and more importantly, the responsibility, to shift the focus to a child-centered approach.”  The result of the collaboration among agencies and with the courts has been a dramatic improvement in child and family outcomes, including reduced time spent in foster care; improved mental health and substance treatment compliance and outcomes; reduced number of subsequent NAS babies born to program participants; and reduced costs to social programs.  Touchpoints training was an important driver in these outcomes, as it built knowledge and skills to support families and their children.   Smith points out that, “Over 90% of Touchpoints participants reported that Touchpoints training resulted in an increase in their ability to engage and build positive relationships with the children and families they serve; broadened their perspective to see parents/caregivers as experts on their own children; and developed an enhanced understanding of the importance of reflective practice to strengthen relationships with children and families.”
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11th Annual National Children’s Mental Health Awareness Day

TODAY the Brazelton Touchpoints Center is supporting the celebration of the 11th Annual National Children’s Mental Health Awareness Day (Awareness Day)!   Children’s Mental Health Awareness Day shines a national spotlight on the importance of caring for every child’s mental health which is essential to a child’s healthy development. The theme for 2016 is “Finding Help, Finding Hope.” The goal is to explore how communities can work together to increase access to behavioral health services and supports for children, youths, and young adults who experience mental or substance use disorders, and their families.

Family Connections is an early childhood mental health consultation and professional staff development  program of Boston Children’s Hospital that supports early childhood and home visiting programs in their outreach to families facing mental health challenges, particularly parental depression. Brazelton Touchpoints Center offers to early education and home visiting programs, a blended model of interventions that uses both Family Connections and Brazelton Touchpoints models to enhance development, parenting, mental health support, and relationship building.

Learn more about Family Connections, and visit our calendar for professional development opportunities.

Joshua Sparrow, MD, speaks at White House Early Learning Science, Technology, Engineering, and Mathematics (STEM) Symposium

Brazelton Touchpoints Center director Joshua Sparrow, MD, participated in a panel entitled “Ensuring Inclusive practices in Early Childhood STEM” at the White House Early Learning Science, Technology, Engineering, and Mathematics (STEM) Symposium on Thursday, April 21, 2016.

The symposium brought together researchers, educators, and government and business leaders to discuss the importance of STEM learning in the earliest years.

Livestream Event Featuring Dr. Renee Boynton-Jarrett on Addressing Community Trauma

You are invited to join Dr. Renée Boynton-Jarrett via live stream as part of the 26th Annual Indiana University Northwest Forum on Child Abuse and Neglect: Raising Northwest Indiana.

This event is free of charge, but registration is required.

Renée Boynton-Jarrett

Renée Boynton-Jarrett, MD, ScD

It Takes a Village: The Vital Village Network, Addressing Community Trauma, and Connecting Systems of Care to Improve Child Wellbeing

Friday, April 29, 10:45am-12:00pm (Central)

Dr. Renée Boynton-Jarrett will discuss strategies for mobilizing communities by engaging families and community-based agencies in coordinated efforts to build collective will and actions to prevent childhood adversity.

The Vital Village Network uses a collective impact approach to improve community systems in order to support setting-level improvements that enhance family and community protective factors and ultimately prevent and mitigate childhood adversities and promote optimal well-being. This workshop will also review data sharing systems and barriers and challenges to operating as a backbone agency.


A limited number of spaces are available:

Registration also includes access to Dr. Boynton-Jarrett’s morning keynote address Preventing Adversity is Necessary but Not Sufficient: Setting a New Agenda for All Children to Thrive, Friday, April 29, 9:10-10:30am (Central).


Ann Coleman Stadtler, DNP, MSN, CPNP, Receives Loretta C. Ford Distinguished Fellow Award from NAPNAP

The Brazelton Touchpoints Center (BTC) is proud to announce that Ann Coleman Stadtler, DNP, MSN, CPNP, received the Loretta C. Ford Distinguished Fellow Award at the National Association of Pediatric Nurse Associates and Practitioners (NAPNAP) Annual Conference in Atlanta, GA on March 16, 2016. This award is named for Dr. Ford who founded the nurse practitioner movement in 1965, and recognizes a member of NAPNAP for contributions to the expansion or improvement of pediatric healthcare, and advancement of the profession of pediatric nurse practitioners at the local community, state, or regional level.

Dr. Stadtler, a nurse practitioner, is a founding faculty member of the Brazelton Touchpoints Center who led the professional development program for 20 years and is presently the Center’s director for Outreach & Network Development. She has traveled nationally and internationally sharing the Brazelton Touchpoints approach and the Newborn Behavioral Observations (NBO) system with a diverse array of practitioners. Among other current projects, Dr. Stadtler is leading a team at Boston Children’s Hospital in the development of a simulation to support nurses providing family-centered care.

“I am delighted that Ann’s contributions to the field are being recognized by this award,” said T. Berry Brazelton, MD, founder of the Brazelton Touchpoints Center. “Ann was a key player in the team that realized the vision of the Brazelton Touchpoints Center to support children’s healthy development through their relationships, and the wellbeing, of their families.”

Dr. Stadtler was a pioneer in the nurse practitioner movement. She had a successful practice in Montgomery County, MD and credits Dr. T. Berry Brazelton for his important influence on her practice.  At Boston Children’s Hospital she was associate director of the Medical Diagnostic Programs, director of the Preschool Function Program, coordinator of the Asthma and Allergy Program and the Pain and Incontinence Program. She is one of the developers of Toilet School, a successful intervention for children who fail to toilet train by age four.

Dr. Stadtler received the Wong Hock Boon Professorship from the Singapore University Hospital, the Massachusetts March of Dimes Nurse Practitioner of the Year, the Boston Children’s Hospital’s “That’s the Spirit” award, the Touchpoints Distinguished Leader Award, and the St. Mary’s Academy Bay View Alumna of the Year. She is co-chair of the Doctorate of Nursing Practice program at Northeastern University where she is adjunct faculty and she is a lecturer at the University of California Davis Extension–Faculty for Infant-Parent Mental Health Fellowship Program, Napa, CA.

Welcome Brazelton Touchpoints Center Executive Director Jane Tewksbury

TewksburyWe are delighted to welcome Brazelton Touchpoints Center’s new Executive Director, Jane Tewksbury. For the past four years, Jane has served as Executive Director of Thrive in 5,an early childhood partnership between the City of Boston and United Way of Massachusetts Bay and Merrimack Valley, focused on the health, well-being, and school readiness of all of Boston’s young children. With significant experience in executive management of both public sector and private non-profit organizations, Jane has a long and successful record of moving a vision from concept and design to policy and practice. We look forward to her leadership in advancing the Brazelton Touchpoints Center’s vision for young children and their families. She will assume her new post on November 30, 2015, succeeding Terry Ann Lunt.

“I’m thrilled to have such a passionate advocate for children join the Brazelton Touchpoints Center,” said founder T. Berry Brazelton, MD.
Mayor of Boston, Martin J. Walsh said, “I want to congratulate Jane on her new position and look forward to her and the team at Brazelton Touchpoints Center continuing their incredible work. Jane made invaluable contributions to improving early care and learning in Boston through her work at Thrive in 5.  We look forward to her continued leadership in the field.”

Working with our strong staff and board of the Brazelton Touchpoints Foundation, and in partnership with Dr. Brazelton and Joshua D. Sparrow, MD, Jane will oversee the strategic planning and management of the Brazelton Touchpoints Center and all of its programs and services, provide direction and leadership toward the fulfillment of its mission, and develop and lead the implementation of a comprehensive strategy to support the center’s expansion and revenue generation.

“I have had the privilege of working with and on behalf of some of the most vulnerable children and families in Boston,” said Jane. “I know firsthand from my work as Commissioner of the Department of Youth Services for the State of Massachusetts that we must start at the very beginning of life, and even before, to support families so that they can better support and nurture their children to reach their full potential. I am honored to join the Brazelton Touchpoints Center in its 20th year of supporting children’s healthy development and early learning. Professionally and personally, for me this is a dream come true.”

The Brazelton Touchpoints Center, in the Division of Developmental Medicine at Boston Children’s Hospital, collaborates with providers, organizations, institutions, systems of care, and communities who understand that to improve outcomes for children, they must engage more effectively with families. To reach as many families and other caregivers as possible, we work with health and education providers who partner with families during children’s most formative years. The Brazelton Touchpoints Center is also home to the Office of Head Start and Office of Child Care National Center on Parent, Family and Community Engagement.

“As the Executive Director of Thrive in 5, Jane has been a leader in efforts to identify young children who are at risk of falling behind and to connect them to resources that will enable them to succeed when they enter school,” said Michael K. Durkin, President at United Way of Massachusetts Bay and Merrimack Valley. “We are eager to continue working with Jane in her new role at the Brazelton Touchpoints Center to help ensure every child has access to a high quality educational opportunity.”

In addition to serving as Commissioner of the Massachusetts Department of Youth Services, and as an Assistant Attorney General and Assistant District Attorney, Jane completed a mid-career Children and Family Fellowship at the Annie E. Casey Foundation, where she was deployed to the Arkansas Department of Juvenile Justice and later to the Maryland Subcabinet on Children, Youth and Families, to work on state level systems reform efforts affecting disadvantaged children and families.

Jane is an appointed member of the Children’s Trust Fund board for the prevention of child abuse and of the Committee for Public Counsel Services, which oversees the appointment of counsel to represent indigent persons in the Commonwealth’s court system. A magna cum laude graduate of Harvard/Radcliffe College, and the University of Wisconsin Law School, Jane is the recipient of many awards in recognition of her professional achievements and volunteer activities.