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Connecting parent and child to reduce impact of trauma, how one Tallahassee program is improving wellbeing

Posted at 5:57 PM, Jan 31, 2024
and last updated 2024-01-31 17:57:53-05
  • The Parent Child Interaction Program at Families Connect is teaching parents skills to navigate their child's trauma.
  • The program is free in partnership with NWF Health Network.
  • Watch the video to find out how it's changing lives in our community, boosting the wellbeing of our neighborhood, and how you can sign up.


Building on services available for families in our neighborhood. Looking into one Families Connect program that's providing tools for parents to help their children with behavioral or emotional issues and why this service is helping our community.

Amanda Huddleston has been taking part in the Parent Child Interaction Program at Families Connect with her sons Trevian and Tresean.

They heard about it through Trevian's case manager.

"They let the parents and the kids really communicate with each other, you can really spend that time with them," said Huddleston.

She said it's giving them the tools to connect and manage their trauma.

"It can help them grow up to be more of men and women of the society that wants to get out and do more and help more people," said Huddleston.

Michelle McNealy runs the program helping children ages two to seven.

She coaches parents as they learn to adopt these skills.

McNealy said this can be done here at their office on Tharpe Street or they can bring the service to your home.

She said untreated trauma in a child has large impacts on themselves.

"You develop mistrust, you develop low self-esteem, low self-worth," said McNealy , explaining the consequences.

She said it also affects their role in the community.

"That trauma produces that sense of I can't trust anyone in the world because I've been hurt," said McNealy.

McNealy said the program contracts with NorthWest Florida Health Network. Currently, they do not have a waiting list. Their goal is to reach more families.

"Increasing those parenting skills, increasing that trust and bond with the families, to produce more, again, more productive citizens," said McNealy.

Huddleston hopes you will join her.

"If anyone's really considering it, go for it. Because I think it would help anybody," said Huddleston.

Families Connect targets this program to any caregiver including biological parents, foster/adoptive parents, grandparents and legal guardians. They tell me it's offered at no cost and serve families in these 8 Big Bend Counties including Leon, Franklin, Jefferson, Wakulla, Liberty, Gadsden, Madison, and Taylor. You can sign up for the program by visiting their website or calling Michelle McNealy at 850-901-4222.