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PRESS RELEASE / ANNOUNCEMENTS Tuesday, September 27, 2011

Early Childhood Advocates welcome Brazelton Touchpoints Center Expert to Santa Barbara

Local early childhood advocates- THRIVE Santa Barbara County, Storyteller Children’s Center, First 5 Santa Barbara County and CALM, join to bring attention to the importance of early development and childhood social-emotional health by hosting Dr. Joshua Sparrow, an expert from the Brazelton Touchpoints Center in Boston.


Nearly 70 percent of a child’s brain develops during the first 3 years of life, and how we nurture early development will have long lasting effects. Brazelton Touchpoints Center, which is rooted in over 60 years of practice and research—is a practical approach for enhancing the competence of parents and building strong family-child relationships from before birth through the earliest years, laying the vital foundation for children’s healthy development. As mentioned by Pat Wheatley, Executive Director of First 5—“by promoting healthy children and families, we ultimately promote healthy communities”.

A published author and child psychiatrist, Dr. Sparrow’s work over the last 20 years in the field of early childhood with children hospitalized for severe psychiatric disturbances, and children with developmental delays aggravated by social and economic deprivation, prompted his interest in community-based prevention and health promotion. At the Brazelton Touchpoints Center, his work focuses on cultural adaptations of family support programs, organizational professional development, and aligning systems of care with community strengths and priorities. “We are excited to learn from Dr. Sparrow…his work is the perfect blend of theory and practical advice. We are always looking for better ways to support Storyteller families. We are grateful to have him visit us!,” said Terri Allison, Executive Director, Storyteller Children’s Center. “We never stop learning…Dr. Sparrow’s visit allows us to learn and THRIVE as a community,” said Dr. Anita Perez-Ferguson, Executive Director, THRIVE Santa Barbara County.

The Boards of both new and long-standing local organizations have come together to commit to priorities around early childhood and partner to deliver these services. For CALM, a deep-rooted child abuse prevention and treatment resource in our community, “this is an opportunity to review our accomplishments and renew our commitment to collaborative efforts on behalf of young children,” said Cecilia Rodriguez, Executive Director, CALM. A new local initiative—“THRIVE connects parenthood, childhood and neighborhood, by providing place-based support from educational institutions, government departments, nonprofit agencies, service providers and businesses,” said Lois Mitchell, Orfalea Foundations President and Board member at THRIVE. Together, these four local organizations look to promote and support that every child has the best start in life.

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