Supporting Infants, Toddlers, and Families Impacted by Caregiver Mental Health Problems, Substance Abuse, and Trauma (4 hours)

John Tinsley


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Course Summary and Description

This course is based on information found in the manual “Supporting Infants, Toddlers, and Families Impacted by Caregiver Mental Health Problems, Substance Abuse, and Trauma” from the Substance Abuse and Mental Health Services Administration of the U.S. Department of Health and Human Services. This manual is DHHS publication No. (SMA) 12-4726 and can be obtained free of charge from the DHHS.

Using a case study approach, this guide presents resources that service providers, advocates, and practitioners can use to better understand and engage the community in responding to children whose caregivers are negatively impacted by mental illness, substance abuse, or trauma. The aim is to build a responsive community: a community that has as its goal to respond as sensitively to the needs of a family as a committed caregiver does to his or her child.

In Section 1, we focus on the importance of early development, highlighting recent findings about how the brain develops. Section 2 looks at the newest and best research on how toxic stress can harm brain development. In Section 3, we look at how to build a sturdy foundation for the very young children in our communities. And finally, Section 4 provides a six-step road map for action:

1. Assess how far along your community is in building resources and structures that contribute to the well-being of families;
2. Assess your community’s capacity for supporting family well-being;
3. Build partnerships and coalitions among existing community groups;
4. Outline a strategic plan;
5. Provide guides and tips for implementation; and
6. Evaluate your efforts to better understand your impact and continually improve your strategies.

About the Instructor:

Dr. John H. Tinsley is a former assistant professor of Medical Physiology at the Texas A&M University System College of Medicine. He received his Ph.D. from Texas A&M University, College Station, Texas; M.S. from the University of North Carolina; and his B.S. from the University of Oklahoma.

He has been teaching, training, consulting and conducting research in the fields of Medical Physiology and Behavioral Biology for over twenty-nine years. Dr. Tinsley has authored over twenty-five professional and refereed articles, including invited reviews. He has been a member of the American Society for Physiology, and work done in 2001 led to an international award from The European Society on Microcirculation. Dr. Tinsley has received research funding from the Veteran’s Administration, American Heart Association, and Scott and White Hospital. In addition, he has served on numerous review committees for national grant-funding agencies and scientific journals.

Additional information


CD ROM, Hard Copy, Internet