The Fussy Baby Network at Erikson Institute, located in Chicago, provides training and consultation to organizations across the country that wish to adopt the Fussy Baby Network model.

The Network started in 2003 as a prevention home visiting program for families who were struggling with their baby’s crying, sleeping, or feeding during the first year of life.

FAN approach: a national model

The Fussy Baby Network’s unique approach to working with families is called the FAN (Facilitating Attuned INteractions). The FAN approach focuses on the parent’s concerns and uses five core processes to match interactions to what the parents are showing they can most use in the moment.

The FAN approach also teaches professionals to track, regulate, understand, and use their own responses to families, thus building self-awareness and self-regulation. FAN has proved applicable beyond issues of infant fussiness and generalizable as conceptual framework and practical tool to support attunement in helping relationships and promote reflective practice.

Bring the Fussy Baby Network to your area

For those who are interested in bringing the Fussy Baby Network to their area, three options are available.

  • Program sites: A site can expand their continuum of infant/family services by starting a Fussy Baby Network program. The program includes a warmline and a home visiting component offered to any family who is struggling with their infant’s crying, feeding, or sleeping during the first year of life.
  • Infusion sites: An existing parent/child program can integrate the Fussy Baby Network FAN approach into its home visiting or center-based services. This includes but is not limited to Part C Early Intervention, prevention, and family support programs.
  • Systems sites: The Fussy Baby Network FAN approach can be integrated into larger systems of care including statewide home visitation, early childhood mental health consultation, and professional education.

For more information, please contact Linda Gilkerson, executive director, at [email protected].

Research and papers on the FAN approach

Read more about the Fussy Baby Network and the FAN approach:

Gilkerson, L, Hofherr, J., et al. (2012) Implementing Fussy Baby Network Approach. Zero to Three Journal, 33 (2), 59-65.

Gilkerson, L & Gray, L (2014) Fussy Babies: Early Challenges in Regulation, Impact on the Dyad and Family, and Longer-Term Implications. In K. Brandt, B. Perry, S. Seligman, & E. Tronick (Eds). Infant and Early Childhood Mental Health, Alexandria VA: American Psychiatric Publishing, Inc., pp. 195-208.

Gilkerson, L. (2015) Facilitating Attuned Interactions: Using the FAN approach to family engagement. Zero to Three Journal, 35 (3), 46-48.

Cosgrove, K, and Norris-Shortle, C. (2015) “Let’s spend more time together like this”: Fussy Baby Network, Infusion into a Baltimore Homeless Shelter Nursery Program. Zero to Three Journal, 35 (3), 49-55.

Heller, S.S. & Breuer, A. (2015) Fussy Baby Network New Orleans and Gulf Coast: Using the FAN to support families. Zero to Three Journal, 35(3), 56-62.

National sites

The Fussy Baby Network approach has been adopted by organizations around the U.S. and internationally.

The Fussy Baby Network is based in Chicago. Partner sites are located in 10 U.S. states:

  • Arizona
  • California
  • Colorado
  • Florida
  • Louisiana
  • Maryland
  • Massachusetts
  • New Mexico
  • Washington
  • Wisconsin

Read more about these programs below.

National: Healthy Steps for Young Children

Healthy Steps for Young Children is an approved evidence-based practice. Healthy Steps Specialists monitor child health and development, promote good health practices and respond to mothers’ and fathers’ concerns about their developing infants and toddlers. Healthy Steps sites customize the following services to best serve their families: enhanced well child care; child development telephone information line; home visits; informational materials for mothers and fathers that emphasize prevention; child development and family health checkups; parent groups and links to community resources; and service delivery grants to their agencies.

FAN is introduced in the Healthy Steps core training provided by the Healthy Steps National Trainers for all new Healthy Steps sites. All programs funded as of 2015 were offered the opportunity to participate in a two-day advanced FAN training. Presently, an advanced training is offered annually to all new Health Steps sites one-year post training. For information, visit the Healthy Steps for Young Children website.

Arizona: Phoenix

Fussy Baby Network Phoenix services are integrated into the Birth to Five Helpline at Southwest Human Development. The toll-free telephone service supports parents and caregivers with questions or concerns about children in the birth to five age range. Parents who call the Birth to Five Helpline with concerns about an infant who is difficult to soothe, having trouble sleeping, or having trouble feeding receive support over the phone. If the family resides in Maricopa County, they are also able to take advantage of free home visiting services. Services are available in English and Spanish. For assistance, call (877) 705-KIDS (5437) or visit the Southwest Human Development website.

Arizona Smart Support

The FAN is infused into the conceptual framework and staff development for Arizona’s Smart Support statewide system for early childhood mental health consultation for early care and education centers. Smart Support is a unique program that partners early childhood mental health consultants with child care providers to promote the social and emotional development of all children in case, and help providers respond to children with behavioral challenges. For more information, call (866) 330-5520 or visit the Arizona Smart Support website.

California: Napa

Fussy Baby Network Napa is a unique collaboration between Aldea Children and Family Services, Queen of the Valley Medical Center, and the Napa County Public Health Home Visiting Nurse Program. Fussy Baby Network Napa provides home visiting services and warmline support and integrates the approach into local public health home visiting services. For more information, contact Stephanie Paravicini at (707) 253-0123, ext. 609.

California: Oakland

Fussy Baby Network Oakland services are an integral part of the Early Childhood Mental Health Program at UCSF Benioff Children’s Hospital Oakland. Our experienced and highly skilled team of certified Fussy Baby specialists works closely with our Primary Care Clinic, the Center for the Vulnerable Child SEED Program, and other hospital departments, as well as community agencies to facilitate referrals.

Warmline support is available to any family struggling to care for a baby who is fussy, crying excessively, or has difficulties with sleeping or feeding. Home visitation or clinic based service is offered to families in Alameda County who have full-scope MediCal. Our site also works as a training center for the National Erikson Institute Fussy Baby Network (CHANGE) with other programs in development and to support expansion of quality services to young infants and their families.

To learn more, call (510) 428-3407 or visit the UCSF Benioff Children’s Hospital Oakland website.

Colorado: Denver

Fussy Baby Network Colorado services are integrated into the Irving Harris Program in Child Development and Infant Mental Health at the University of Colorado, Denver, Children’s Hospital. Services include warmline phone consultation, clinic consultation, and home visitation through the primary care clinic for families. To learn more, call (877) 6-CRYCARE or visit Fussy Baby Network Colorado website.

Florida: Sarasota

Fussy Baby Network Sarasota services have been integrated into infant mental health services at The Florida Center for Early Childhood, Inc. Services include warmline phone consultation at (855) 62-FUSSY, clinic consultation, home visitation and on-site clinic services. To learn more, call (941) 371-8820 or visit The Florida Center for Early Childhood website.

Israel: Jerusalem

Fussy Baby Network FAN is integrated into the Jerusalem-based Mom2Mom home-visiting project, which provides support for mothers during the first year after childbirth. Mom2Mom is affiliated with the Department of Psychology, Hebrew University of Jerusalem. Services include a warmline and home visitation. Women are self-referred or referrals are made by professionals, including social workers and primary care physicians. To learn more, call +972-2-5881107 or visit the Mom2Mom website.

Louisiana: New Orleans and the Gulf Region

The Fussy Baby Network New Orleans and Gulf Coast has served families in southeast Louisiana since March 2013. It provides support to any infant caregiver (e.g., mom, dad, grandparent, nanny, etc.) who has concerns about their infant’s temperament and behavior during the first year of life. The program offers a help line, home visits, parenting groups, and training and consultation to social service programs working with infants and families. It is housed in the Center of Environmental Health Research, Leadership and Strategic Initiatives within Tulane University’s School of Public Health and Tropical Medicine.

Staff are able to provide free services to all of our families, due to funding from local and regional grants from the Gulf Region Health Outreach Program, Baton Rouge Area Foundation, and the Institute of Mental Hygiene. Visit the Fussy Baby Network New Orleans and Gulf Coast website or call (855) 371-BABY.

Maryland: Baltimore

Description coming soon!

Massachusetts: Boston, Boston Medical Center

Fussy Baby Network services are integrated into the Healthy Steps program at Boston Medical Center. Services include phone consultation, clinic consultation, and home visitation through the primary care clinic for families. To learn more, call (617) 414-4767.

Massachusetts: Boston, JF & CS Center for Early Relationship Support

Fussy Baby Network FAN is infused into several key programs within the Jewish Family & Children’s Service Center for Early Relationship Support (CERS). CERS provides a range of prevention and intervention services designed to meet the complex needs of families in the first years of their child’s life. The Fussy Baby approach offers a frame for direct work with families within our programs for babies with vulnerabilities such as prenatal substance exposure or prematurity. The model is also being integrated into supervision and consultation as a valuable vehicle for clinical training and for supporting the work of volunteer home visitors. For more information call (781) 693-5652 or visit the Jewish Family & Children’s Service website.

New Mexico: Albuquerque

The FAN is infused into the FOCUS Program, an early intervention program through the UNM Center for Development and Disability, located in Albuquerque, New Mexico. The FOCUS Program is an integrated Part C program and medical home, serving families with children 0-3 years old. Most children referred into the program are prenatally exposed infants, and our integrated medical services provide pediatric care, adult care, and opiate replacement (suboxone). For more information, contact Tekla Johnson, LISW, at (505) 225-9387 or [email protected] or Peggy Maclean, Ph.D., at (505) 508-7649 or [email protected].

Washington: Seattle

Fussy Baby Network Seattle/King County joined our network in September 2013. The site runs out of Cooper House, a collaboration of six clinicians who specialize in infant mental health and Occupational Therapy. In addition to home visits within most of King County, clinicians provide warmline services to any family in Washington State, and also see families at Cooper House, the Capitol Hill clinic located near downtown Seattle. Services are available in both Spanish and English with a low-cost sliding scale. For more information, email [email protected], contact Meg McNulty at (206) 399-1278, or visit the Cooper House website.

Washington: Spokane

Fussy Baby Network Spokane is integrated into Partners with Families & Children’s range of services for parents and children. Services include phone consultation, home visiting, agency consultations and if needed, linkage with a variety of other services at Partners including co-occurring adult CD and MH services; child, adolescent, and family counseling; financial independence program; and medical and forensic evaluations of sexual and physical abuse through our Child Advocacy Center. For information, call (509) 473-4810 or visit the Partners with Families & Children website.

Wisconsin: Home Visiting Professional Development System

The Wisconsin Home Visiting Professional Development System provides a wide range of training, coaching and technical assistance supports to assist professionals to work effectively with families to address needs and support the parent-child relationship. Funded in part by the MIECHV (The Maternal, Infant, and Early Childhood Home Visiting) funds and state of Wisconsin, the goals are to support home visiting and family support professionals/programs to improve child and family outcomes in federally defined benchmark areas.

The FAN approach to interactions is a critical tool being infused into the professional development program, which provides professionals skills and a framework for family engagement and implementation of reflective practice. The framework is being implemented into direct service work, supervision, and consultation services. For more information, visit the Milwaukee Child Welfare Partnership website or call (414) 964-7399.