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Massachusetts’ "All Babies Cry" Resource
Physical Health, Family Support
Source Of Information:
ZERO TO THREE Policy Center state updates
In an effort to promote healthy parenting behaviors and prevent child abuse in the first year of life, the Children’s Trust Fund of Massachusetts is distributing All Babies Cry to programs working with new parents. All Babies Cry is an evidence-based intervention that empowers new mothers and fathers with practical demonstrations of infant soothing and clear strategies for managing normal stress in parenting. It incorporates the Strengthening Families protective factors and meets the requirements outlined in Massachusetts’ shaken baby syndrome prevention initiative legislation (Title XVI Public Health, Chapter 111, § 24L) for education and training programs.
The All Babies Cry program includes: • an 11 minute introductory video designed to be shown to parents in the hospital; • a DVD for parents to take home with four chapters titled: What’s normal about crying, Comforting your baby, Self-care tips for parents, and Colic and how to cope; • a booklet with checklists, activities, and links to additional resources; • an online course to train hospital staff on the best ways to disseminate the resources; and • an All Babies Cry website that includes streaming video.
The Children’s Trust Fund distributed 7,000 copies of the DVD and booklet to newborn home visiting programs across Massachusetts in 2011. In July 2012, the CTF began working with the state child protective services agency to produce an additional 2,500 copies. The organization also held webinars to publicize the benefits of the intervention for staff from funded providers, the Department of Early Learning, and family resource centers. A long-term goal is to make All Babies Cry available to all birthing centers in Boston.
Vida Health Communications Inc. produced All Babies Cry and is currently working with the Massachusetts Department of Public Health and five regional hospitals to evaluate it. Preliminary results look promising – participating parents reported that, after watching the DVD, they increased the number and variety of strategies they used to calm their infant’s crying and they had learned how to manage their own stress better. A copy of the preliminary summary of evaluation findings can be found at http://www.vida-health.com/pdf/ABC_Preliminary_Findings_Final.pdf. Detailed findings will be released after the results have been subjected to peer review.