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VOL. 131 | NO. 133 | Tuesday, July 5, 2016

Foundation Supports New Services to Help Parents

By Andy Meek

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The ACE Awareness Foundation in Memphis is funding what’s become a growing suite of support services for parents in Memphis, everything from a newly launched telephone support line that puts parents in touch with licensed social workers and counselors to Universal Parenting Places.


The latter are facilities that offer practical information, guidance and emotional support for family-related issues. There are two such sites currently in Memphis – at Baptist Memorial Hospital for Women, 6225 Humphreys Blvd., and Knowledge Quest, 990 College Park Drive – but more will be opening this fall.

That’s according to Ellen Rolfes, the regional director of the Memphis-based ACE Awareness Foundation, who said those sites are all staffed by licensed therapists so that parents can go in and talk about so-called “averse childhood experiences” in the home.

“Research shows adverse childhood experiences have a lasting negative impact for children” that can impact everything from their future health to their professional earnings potential later in life, she said. “Our goal is to transform our community by helping parents and caregivers limit or prevent a child’s chronic exposure to trauma.”

One way that’s being done is through the new telephone service called the Parent Support Warm Line. The foundation is funding the service – which will be operational Monday through Friday, from 11 a.m. to 8 p.m. – and it’s being administered by Le Bonheur Children’s Hospital.

The idea is for parents with non-urgent challenges – perhaps a child acting out, or concern over a teenager who seems detached – to call the line to speak directly with workers trained in parent guidance and support. The line offers interpreter services in Spanish, as well as 250 additional languages.

“Parenting isn’t easy for anyone. We’re here to tell parents they don’t have to go at it alone, we are here to help,” said Warm Line program supervisor Shandrian Guinn. “There is a deep bench of support services for parents in Memphis, and we’ll be able to bridge the gap by offering immediate support while also directing parents to the many short- and long-term resources available to them.”

That line is an extension of the services also provided in the UPPs, which the ACE Awareness Foundation describes as similar to pediatrician visits by parents that provide answers to common medical questions and problems.

Each UPP, according to the foundation, uses the latest findings from neurobiology and family therapy to provide state-of-the-art solutions to common concerns affecting children’s emotional and behavioral health.

“This is all part of a national movement where we’ve discovered, and it’s all neuroscience-based, that when a young child experiences prolonged stress in the home, it becomes toxic,” Rolfes said. “And toxic stress is so damaging that it can change a child and make them susceptible to having adult diseases like hypertension, heart diseases, all the biggies.”

The work of the foundation, she continued, is about finding ways on the front end to reduce “toxic” experiences in the home that can likewise reduce stress.

The foundation says its purpose is to inform the community about the role of emotional trauma in mental, physical and behavioral health, and to put innovative models into practice that provide sustainable solutions toward reducing stress at home.

And with the expanded suite of services like the telephone line and the growing number of UPPs, that help is now either a call or a brief ride away.

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