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A Flourishing Start: New podcast spotlights early childhood mental health
Episodes focus on ways to support social-emotional development of children from birth to 5 years old

A Flourishing Start

A solid foundation is an essential step in building anything that's expected to be strong and resilient. This is especially true for young children as they begin to build healthy, vibrant lives.

Our new podcast, A Flourishing Start: The ABCs of Child & Family Well-Being, aims to help parents and caregivers provide their children with just that — a strong starting foundation from which to grow and develop habits that support their mental and emotional health, allowing them to flourish. The first episode was released today on SpotifyApple and YouTube.

"I know how deeply happy we are to see young children take on the world," said host Esmeralda Cortez Rosales, a community policy associate with the National Center for Youth Law. "We record their first steps, we frequently wonder what their first word will be, and together we experience profound emotion. Our podcast focuses on that last part."

The podcast features engaging conversations with parents, caregivers, and other experts who work with young children and families. Through these discussions of real-life issues and experiences, listeners are provided with insights and tools to help them better support the mental health and emotional development of the children in their lives. Together, we also explore the structural and systemic issues that impact childhood mental health and well-being, and develop strategies for connection, community-building, and policy advocacy to ensure all children and families have the opportunity and support they need to thrive. 

A Flourishing Start is produced by the National Center for Youth Law and supported by a grant from the Resilience Effect, a philanthropic initiative of Genentech, a member of the Roche Group. New episodes will be released every two weeks.

Spotlighting young minds, families

Mental health is often a difficult topic for public discussion. When these conversations do take place, however, they are almost always focused on adults and older children. A Flourishing Start aims to center the focus of mental health discourse on our youngest minds.

About 90% of a child's brain growth occurs in their first five years, making this stage of life critically important for the development of social, emotional and mental health. Young people who are surrounded by supportive adults who are attuned to and understand their needs during these early years, when many children often can't advocate for themselves, are best positioned to thrive.

The series will touch on subjects that include trauma, developmental challenges, emotional distress and other sensitive areas.

Each episode will feature open, raw and nonjudgmental examination of how adults, particularly parents and community leaders, can nurture the well-being and mental health of children from birth to 5 years old. Ten episodes will be released through early 2024, each concluding with a resource and suggested activity for families to try on their own.

"This podcast will really hone in on how a family's well-being plays into a child's well-being," Rosales said. "A Flourishing Start is not going to put extra pressure on parents; on the contrary, we're bringing parents and community leaders together to talk about how we can alleviate the societal burdens and pressures that are put on parents, caregivers and community leaders to hold the child's well-being and mental health all on their shoulders. This podcast is a place for all of us to come, guilt-free and shame-free, to help elevate the well-being of young children 0 to 5 years old."

To suggest topics or express interest in being a guest, email For media inquiries, email The podcast will also publish content on TikTok and Instagram.