Parent Connext™, a Beech Acres Parenting Center program that connects parents with individualized parenting support through a visit to or referral from a pediatrician, has received a generous $150,000 grant from the L&L Nippert Charitable Foundation, which is tripling its funding for the program because of the impact the pandemic is having on parents.

“This tremendous investment from the L&L Nippert Charitable Foundation will ensure that parents continue to receive the help they need to support their children during this unprecedented, challenging time,” said Jill Huynh, vice president of new business development & Parent ConnextTM, Beech Acres. “Parents are enduring incredible levels of stress, and the one-on-one coaching sessions from Parent Connext™ are helping them to become stronger parents, provide a safe environment for their children and build family resilience.”

Parent Connext™ places Beech Acres Parenting Specialists with eight TriHealth Pediatrics locations through a grant from bi3, from Mental Health Recovery Board Serving Warren & Clinton Counties and at Pediatric Associates of Northern Kentucky. Conveniently embedded in pediatric offices before the pandemic, Beech Acres Parenting Specialists have shifted their screening and coaching sessions to a telehealth approach to adjust to current social distancing guidelines.

More than 20,000 families have been screened through the program. The specialists help pediatricians by screening for Adverse Childhood Experiences (ACEs), which have the potential to impact long-term mental health, physical health, and behaviors, including smoking, alcoholism, drug use, missed work, depression, suicide attempts, heart disease, diabetes, severe obesity, cancer and stroke. People with a large number of ACEs can even have shorter life expectancy. Published research indicates that Cincinnati has a higher average number of children who experience ACEs than children elsewhere in Ohio or the U.S. Meanwhile, the effects of a difficult year in 2020 led to high levels of stress for parents, which creates additional ACEs for children.

“Reducing ACEs translates to better prospects for the healthy development of children as they grow older. So Parent Connext™ is leading to stronger children and families, improved mental and physical health, and increased self-sufficiency,” Huynh said.

Telehealth appointments for Parent Connext™ during the pandemic have brought more fulfilling experiences for parents. Appointment no-shows have dropped significantly, and the parent attendance rate has jumped to 90 percent of all scheduled appointments. With telehealth, Beech Acres specialists can see families in their home settings, meet more of the family, and even witness certain family behaviors. Telehealth also removed barriers to coaching sessions such as transportation and childcare.