The Ackerman Institute for the Family celebrates Black History Month. We honor the countless contributions people of African decent have made towards civil rights and social justice throughout history. The Institute strives on being a community of inclusion and one that celebrates diversity as a cornerstone to family health. We remember and celebrate those in the African-American mental health community who envision equality and justice for all families.
The Ackerman Institute’s Gender & Family Project is honored to partner with New York City’s First Lady Chirlane McCray and the NYC Unity Project in our mission to protect trans and gender nonconforming youth through family acceptance.
Ms. McCray has spearheaded the NYC Unity Project in an effort to better serve NYC’s LGBTQ+ youth in all areas. At the First Lady’s direction the NYC Unity Project has funded the first-ever post-graduate family therapy training program through the Ackerman Institute for people serving diverse youth at agencies around the city. Taught by GFP Director, Jean Malpas, this training teaches clinical best practices in family therapy techniques using GFP’s inclusive, gender-informed model as a framework. Thanks to the funding provided by the First Lady’s office, mental health professionals working at agencies throughout the five boroughs were selected to attend the training free of charge.
Miguel Hernandez, LCSW who was dear to so many in our community has sadly passed in Puerto Rico. He was a gifted, extraordinary therapist, supervisor, writer, and a beloved mentor and colleague to so many. Miguel’s work was profound, centered in critical consciousness and emotional connection, and made a substantial contribution to the field of family therapy and training. He will be missed.
We send our condolences to his family.
The Ackerman community is deeply concerned about the treatment of children and families who are being kept in poor conditions while seeking safe entry into the United States. These conditions add to the trauma that families have already endured. Children continue to be forcibly separated from their parents, which threatens the safety and mental health of all involved. We strongly disagree with this administration’s policy of separating children from their families as they cross into the United States.
We also hope that immigrant children will receive more thorough assessments at the earliest possible time. Regardless of the circumstances under which children enter this country, they are fleeing violence and poverty. The most humane thing to do is to ensure adequate medical and mental health care for the children in these facilities.
We are saddened by the tragic deaths of 7-year-old Jakelin Caal Maquin and 8-year old Felipe Alonzo Gomez, who died while in the custody of U.S. Customs and Border Protection. This loss of life is a cruel act of negligence that cannot continue. Our hearts go out to their families during this difficult time.
Dr. Martha Edwards, Director of the Ackerman Institute’s Center for the Developing Child & Family, visited China this month to implement Bright Beginnings parenting initiatives in Beijing. Bright Beginnings is a parenting program founded by Dr. Edwards that serves at-risk families with infants and toddlers.
Dr. Edwards trained staff at the Educare Center in Beijing to implement Bright Beginnings parent-child groups. Educare provides early childhood education for children ages 3–6, as well as parenting education for parents of children at birth through the age of six years. Dr. Edwards also presented to faculty and students at Capital Normal University on children’s social-emotional development, and participated in a roundtable discussion at Educare with six other early childhood professionals.