Helping young mothers and babies bond to prevent child abuse

Helping young mothers bond with their babies in order to prevent child abuse and neglect is the primary goal for the “Bonding Right from the Start” course taught at Catholic Family and Child Service of Richland, Washington.

The 13-week course starts young pregnant women down a path of reflection about their own upbringing and helps them understand the importance of bonding and attachment. Everything the young women learn in the course – about breastfeeding, brain development, nutrition, eye contact and touch, baby cues, child safety – is related back to attachment. They begin to catch a new vision of parenting, one they never really experienced but want to provide for their own child.

“Most of our young women don’t understand attachment,” said Syndee Sauceda Cavazos, director for maternity and parenting services. “They have attachment issues themselves. Through the course, as they tell their own stories, they begin to see that.

With the highest incidence of child abuse and neglect occurring among very young mothers, getting those young women prepared for parenting is a priority.

“Bonding Right from the Start” has proven successful in fostering healthy relationships, reducing abuse and neglect, and in the end, protecting the life and dignity of both young mothers and their babies.