March 2017


Volume 2, Issue 3: March 7, 2017

The ATTC Center of Excellence on Behavioral Health for Pregnant and Postpartum Women and Their Families (ATTC CoE-PPW) has launched Families In Focus, an e-newsletter for PPW programs. This publication contains updates on the work of the ATTC CoE-PPW, including new resources, training offerings, opportunities to connect with other PPW programs, and more. Visit to learn more about the ATTC CoE-PPW.


PPW Project ECHO Featured on National Blog

On the same day it launched (February 21), the PPW Project ECHO was featured on the ATTC/NIATx Service Improvement blog. The blog post describes the Project ECHO model and how it is being adapted for the first time to address the behavioral health needs of pregnant and postpartum women, taking a family-centered approach to the recovery process that is inclusive of family members ranging from the infant to older children, fathers to extended family. 

The second PPW Project ECHO clinic is today (March 7) and the didactic presentation will focus on younger children's services. The full schedule is below. For more information on PPW Project ECHO, contact Senior Project Manager, Sarah Knopf-Amelung, at

American Academy of Pediatrics Releases Policy Statement on Opioid Use in Pregnancy | Physicians Encourage Non-Punitive, Public Health Response

The American Academy of Pediatrics (AAP) released a policy statement in the February 2017 issue of Pediatrics that encourages a public health response to the growing rate of opioid use during pregnancy. This policy statement stands in opposition to some states that have taken a more punitive approach; authors argue that prosecuting and incarcerating pregnant women with substance use disorders may contribute to avoidance of prenatal care and substance use disorder treatment. The policy statement supports the following public health approaches: "a focus on preventing unintended pregnancies and improving access to contraception; universal screening for alcohol and other drug use in women of childbearing age; knowledge and informed consent of maternal drug testing and reporting practices; improved access to comprehensive obstetric care, including opioid-replacement therapy; gender-specific substance use treatment programs; and improved funding for social services and child welfare systems" (p. 1). Full text of the article is available for free.

Introducing Viannella Halsall, MPH, CHES: New ATTC CoE-PPW Staff Member

The ATTC CoE-PPW is excited to welcome Viannella Halsall, MPH, CHES to its team, where she will serve as Project Manager. She is already part of the staff at the University of Missouri-Kansas City (UMKC) School of Nursing and Health Studies, where the ATTC CoE-PPW is located. She has worked on grant projects related to women's health, family planning, and HIV prevention. Prior to joining UMKC, she worked as a community health educator and behavioral health case manager. Throughout the years, she has partnered with diverse agencies such as detention centers, safety net clinics, mental health centers, urban schools, and the Mexican Consulate to provide health interventions for vulnerable populations. She is a graduate of the Health Care Foundation of Greater Kansas City’s Leadership Academy, and currently serves on the Missouri Family Health Council Board of Directors, City of Kansas City Health Commission, and Advisory Committee for the NAADAC Minority Fellowship Program for Addiction Counselors. Originally from Nicaragua, Viannella received her BA in psychology from New College of Florida and MPH from the University of Kansas Medical Center. She can be reached at Please help us welcome Viannella to the project!

Spotlight on Village South (Miami, FL): Children's Services Center Provides Full Array of Services for Children Residing with Mothers in Treatment

The Village South, a center providing family treatment services in Miami, FL, has created a Children’s Services Center to specifically meet the developmental needs of children, ages 0-5. All aspects of the program, including therapeutic daycare, case management, medical and dental assistance, assessment and therapy, have been designed to meet the specific needs of children. The services each child receives are based on the individual needs of the child as well as recommendations made as a result of the development/psychological evaluation. Services are provided to all children who reside with their parents at the Village South residential Families in Transition program. The program serves a high proportion of African American (39%) and Hispanic (39%) children as well as newborn infants (25%), many of whom are involved at some time in the child welfare system. Attachment, safety and building resiliency are the main focuses of the program. For more information on the program's use of pediatric case managers, therapeutic daycare, parenting classes, and specific evidence-based practices and curricula used, read the full Community Story and find other innovative programs across the country on the Community Stories map. If you would like your program featured on the Community Stories page, contact Senior Project Manager, Sarah Knopf-Amelung, at

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FAMILIES IN FOCUS is a publication of the ATTC CoE-PPW. You may Unsubscribe at any time.

The mission of the ATTC CoE-PPW is to strengthen the ability of the behavioral healthcare workforce to serve the pregnant and postpartum population. The ATTC CoE-PPW is funded by SAMHSA as a supplement to the Mid-America ATTC, in partnership with the Great Lakes, New England, and Southeast ATTCs.