Bonds Formed in Children with their Parents Have a Tremendous Impact

Ask the Experts by Evon N. Foster, LMSW, IMH-E®

Q: Is a healthy attachment relationship necessary for the development of infant/toddlers?

A: Optimal development (physical, cognitive, social and emotional) of infants/and toddlers through nurturing, protective, secure and stable relationships with parents promotes readiness to learn.

You may wonder how? Parental nurturing styles and response to young children is impacted by life stressors, lack of support, parent’s history, mental illness and substance abuse. Without a secure relationship, children can become insecure, anxious and disorganized. These are children who become an overwhelming part of the mental health and juvenile system.

Children who have been exposed to unhealthy attachments during the first three years of life present with symptoms of depression, hyper-vigilant, inability to relate to others, are confused, distrustful, insensitive and emotionally unavailable. John Bowlby describes attachment as an emotional bond. He believes that the earliest bonds formed in children with their parents have a tremendous impact that continues throughout life. Parents who are available and responsive to their child allow them to develop a sense of security. This creates a secure base for the child to explore the world.

Early intervention for parents and young children with multiple risks such as poverty, domestic violence, neglect, abuse, trauma, mental illness and substance is critical. Northeast Guidance Center provides Infant and Early Childhood mental health services for parents and children, as well as pregnant women, to develop healthy relationships with their infants/toddlers. Infant Mental Health includes homebased services to pregnant women and children 0-3 years. Early Childhood Mental includes home-based, school observations and office visits for children 4-6 years.

Infant Mental Health services pay attention to the social-emotional development of infants and toddlers. Infant Mental Health services incorporate a relationship perspective that is nurturing, supportive and protective. If you want to learn more about Infant Mental Health services and how it can benefit at-risk infant/toddlers, check out or contact Northeast Guidance Center’s ACCESS department to inquire about our Infant and Early Childhood Mental health program at 877-242-4120 or

Promoting Infant & Early Childhood Mental Health
March 27, 2019
Christ Church Grosse Pointe, 61 Grosse Pointe Blvd., Grosse Pointe Farms
RSVP online at or call The Family Center 313.447.1374.

Evon Foster is Supervisor of Infant and Early Childhood Mental Health (IECMH) program at Northeast Guidance Center, Detroit. Mrs. Foster earned her MSW degree from Wayne State University (2003), BA Sociology Degree at University of Detroit Mercy (1994) and is endorsed as an Infant Mental Health Family Specialist (2014) currently serving as President of MI-AIMH Detroit Chapter.

Enriched Communities Through Stronger Families
The Family Center serves as the community’s hub for information, resources and referral for both families and professionals. The Family Center is a non-profit organization founded to promote a deeper understanding of the role of parents and others in supporting our youth to become competent, caring and responsible community members.

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32 Lake Shore Drive, Grosse Pointe Farms, MI 48236