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Helping Families on the Palouse

Leanna Keleher
Alaska
Child and Youth Development, College of Agricultural and Life Sciences; Sociology, College of Letters, Arts and Social Sciences

Leanna Keleher is passionate about helping parents. Through her undergraduate degrees in child and youth development and sociology from the University of Idaho, and graduate research plans, the fall 2018 graduate hopes to stop instances of parental abuse and neglect.

“It’s my personal theory that when abuse and neglect happens, it happens from not having enough education,” Keleher said. “I’m really focused on relationships between children and parents and parent education.”

Keleher is researching how traumatic birth experiences affect the mother’s ability to bond with their child. Preliminary findings suggest traumatic experiences are often connected to failures in communication between medical staff and women.

“When they say something that is lacking compassion, it’s often unintentional,” Keleher said. “If we provide them with education, we can change the outcome for these women so they heal faster, bond faster and get on their feet faster.”

Keleher will enroll in the U of I’s family and consumer sciences master’s program to continue her research and hopes to open an emergency respite childcare facility on the Palouse.

“I really want to intervene with women who have post-partum depression, post-partum anxiety or post-partum psychosis,” Keleher said. “I want to keep children safe and help the mother before anything happens.”

Leanna Keleher
Leanna Keleher

Article by Amy Calabretta, College of Agricultural and Life Sciences

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