This article appeared in the Summer 2012 issue of Erikson on Children under the headline “Welcome to the family!” More from this issue »

Erikson’s Fussy Baby Network® welcomed its eighth national partner site in Albuquerque, New Mexico. With the new site, Fussy Baby Network is piloting a new approach to establishing partners, a process it calls “infusion.”

Image: Fussy Baby Network logo

The first sites were started to train infant and family service programs to provide the Fussy Baby Network’s home visitation services and phone support for parents of children with excessive crying, sleeping, or feeding issues.

In contrast, the Fussy Baby Network is partnering in Albuquerque with FOCUS, a program operated by the University of New Mexico, to infuse the existing services with the Fussy Baby approach.

Housed in the university’s Center for Development and Disability, FOCUS provides home-visitation and case management services to vulnerable families. Its staff works long term with families to provide them with support and education for their children’s developmental issues.

Why an infusion model?

Ybeth Iglesias, a FOCUS program manager, says, “We chose to become an infusion site because the Fussy Baby Network approach nicely parallels our mindset, and it also provides some great tools for improving how we work.”

The FOCUS staff has found that adopting the Fussy Baby Network’s model for home visits has helped them operationalize their skills and techniques. Giving a name to each step — like empathic inquiry (listening with acceptance), collaborative exploration (thinking with the parent about the issue), and capacity building (strengthening the parents’ competence and confidence) — and providing a logical sequence for when and how they happen heighten the staff’s awareness and intentionality during visits.

“It’s helped our staff to be mindful of where we are in that process and whether the parent is in a different place,” says Iglesias. “So, if we arrive at the visit ready for capacity building, but the parent is at empathic inquiry, we can recognize that and then meet the parent where they are so we can move forward together.”

Iglesias and the FOCUS staff finished their training in February. For the following six months, the Fussy Baby Network will provide consultation and guidance to FOCUS supervisors to help them support their staff in implementing the Fussy Baby approach.

Struggling to care for a baby?

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