Building Healthy Children


Monroe County has one of the highest rates of teen pregnancy in New York State and teen families face increased risks for child abuse, neglect, emotional difficulties, behavioral problems, and developmental delays in children and ultimately foster care placements. The cycle seemingly perpetuates itself since girls in foster care become teen mothers at a higher rate than others. Therefore, early intervention and support is critical to helping teens raise healthy, successful children.

Building Healthy Children provides and evaluates preventive intervention for women who gave birth to their first child prior to the age of 21 years and have no more than two children under the age of 3 years. Using a combination of four-evidence-based practices, we supply these young mothers with parenting education, parent-child attachment and maternal depression therapy, and any needed support services like food, housing and transportation for 3–5 years.

Working with a unique collaboration of funders and service providers, our goals include decreasing the number of families involved with Child Protective Services and promoting positive parent-child relationships with healthy child development. Learning more about these young mother-child relationships helps us and our community partners determine the most successful blend of services to build healthy families and children.

Principal Investigator
Sheree L. Toth, Ph.D.

Site Program Directors
Jody Todd Manly, Ph.D. and Robin J. Sturm, Ed.D. – MHFC
Mardy Sandler, LMSW – Strong Pediatrics and Social Work
Lisa Butt and Laurie Valentine – Society for the Protection and Care of Children

Special Thanks To Our Funders
The United Way of Greater Rochester, The Monroe County Department of Human Services and Administration on Children, Youth and Families Children's Bureau


Banner Photo Credits: Left Photo by Dindo Jimenez