Montana's Congressman, Denny Rehberg, (R-MT), and U.S. Representative Rosa DeLauro, (D-CT), co-founders and co-chairs of the Congressional Baby Caucus, hosted a congressional briefing with leading medical experts on infant trauma to help educate Congress on the ways it can better help families and infants overcome the effects of trauma.
"As a father, I know firsthand the joys, celebrations, and new experiences of having a newborn in the house," said Rehberg, who has three children with his wife, Jan. "As lawmakers and adults, we care about all children and must recognize the experience of trauma very early in a child's life can significantly affect his or her physical and emotional health and development."
The briefing covered how trauma affects our youngest children, sources and treatment of infant trauma, military family trauma, and how effective government policy can help. Members of Congress were invited to attend to hear comments and discuss the issues with three national experts in the field of pediatrics and infant trauma care:
Alicia F. Lieberman, Ph.D., Irving B. Harris Endowed Chair in Infant Mental Health, Professor and Vice Chair for Academic Affairs, UCSF Department of Psychiatry; Director, Child Trauma Research Project, San Francisco General Hospital
Frank W. Putnam, M.D., Professor of Pediatrics and Psychiatry, University of Cincinnati Medical Center; Professor of Psychiatry at the University of North Carolina, Chapel Hill
Dorinda Silver Williams, LCSW-C, ACSW, Director, Military Family Projects, ZERO TO THREE
"Military families have been experiencing combat deployments to Iraq and Afghanistan for over a decade," said Dorinda Williams, Director, Military Family Projects at ZERO TO THREE. "They have had to deal with situations and events including separation, parental physical injury, parental psychological injury, or parental death, that can have lasting implications for military families and their infants and toddlers. Especially with so many service members coming home soon, we need to help cushion their re-entry for them and their families with programs and services aimed at strengthening early parent-child relationships, as well as meeting the needs of the family as a whole. Today's Baby Caucus Briefing, under the leadership of Co-Chairs Rehberg and DeLauro, drove home the point that we need to come together around these military and veteran families to support their resilience in the face of these challenging circumstances."
"Even the most competent parents struggle with moments of uncertainty and fear during pregnancy and early parenting," commented Rehberg. "What's important is that we learn all we can and then try to put the right tools in place for families that need help."