I am honored to be writing you once again, as the Director of the UCLA Family Development Project, to update you on this year’s successes and to wish you a very happy Mother’s Day. During this special time of year we celebrate moms and all that they have done for us. The mother-child relationship is one of the most significant and impactful of a child’s life and its effects can be felt long after the child grows into adulthood. Every mother, regardless of her background, hopes to give her best to her children and prepare them to thrive later in life, but based on what she has learned about parenting from her own experience of being parented, she may feel destined to fall short of that goal.
The mission of the UCLA Family Development Project is to break the cycle of negative family patterns that can discourage a new mom and affect her abilities to develop a nurturing relationship with her child. Simply put, our services give moms a fresh start and the tools they need to become the parent that they have always wanted to be. One mother captured this beautifully when she said, “The thing I will never forget is when you told me that I can raise my child in a different way than my mom raised me and my grandma raised her. It was what my family always did. But I can be a better parent.” I am excited that the UCLA Family Development Project has continued to serve these mothers by helping to break the cycles of violence and show mothers how to create a positive and hopeful path for their children.
This year, the Family Development Project underwent many programmatic enhancements. Continuing our efforts from last year the program increased efficiency in operations and cost-effectiveness while consistently striving to improve the quality of care received by the families that we serve. Some of the most notable accomplishments included the development of outreach material, including a family-centered trifold and provider information sheet, in Spanish. The UCLA Family Development Project was also featured as part of the larger Circle of Care Campaign that was developed by the UCLA Nathanson Family Resilience Center and ran in the Jewish Journal. We have continued to maintain a strong partnership with Olive-View Medical Center and are grateful for their continuous support and referral of families that can benefit from this program’s many resources.
As you know, programs that promote healthy child development have been shown to combat some of the most pressing issues facing our children today. According to the World Health Organization, “Healthy early child development (ECD)—which includes the physical, social/emotional, and language/cognitive domains of development, each equally important—strongly influences well-being, obesity/stunting, mental health, heart disease, competence in literacy and numeracy, criminality, and economic participation throughout life.” Rooted in evidence-based research, the UCLA Family Development Project has proven itself an effective investment in a child’s future that can set them up for lasting benefits throughout their lifetime and for future generations of parents.
Thank you for your continued support.
Catherine Mogil, Psy.D.
Director, UCLA Family Development Project