Florida State University Center for Prevention and Early Intervention Policy (FSU Center) focuses on vulnerable infants and toddlers in the areas of school readiness, infant mental health, home visiting and quality childcare practices. The work of the FSU Center contributes to major state initiatives for maternal and child health and development. Programs include the FSU Young Parents Project, a home visiting program for court-involved teen mothers and their children, the Early Head Start program in Gadsden County, Early Childhood Court Initiative, Partners for a Healthy Baby Curriculum and the Ten Components of Quality. The vision of the FSU Center is that “one day all children will be healthy, equipped to learn, and nurtured to develop their full potential.” This vision is implemented by investigating what interventions are most effective, translating the related research findings into public policy and programs, and evaluating the impact on children ages 0-3, their families and the communities in which they live.
Young Parents Project staff support young families during weekly home visits, utilizing reflective listening, as well as a parallel process of nurturing the teen mother, so she can learn to nurture her baby. This means respecting and valuing their strengths, as well as supporting them in responding to extremely adverse life situations. Outreach is provided to disconnected teen mothers who reside throughout Miami-Dade in some of the most impoverished, underserved areas. During a visit the Infant Mental Health Specialist uses play materials to encourage mom/baby interaction and teach the young mother about child development.