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Allyn Family Foundation, 6/11/18   PCHP Comes to Onondaga County


 

Home visiting programs have a rich history in the United States. As early as the nineteenth century, nurses and social workers went door-to-door to care for expectant mothers and young families. The underlying idea was that home-based education and service delivery would improve health outcomes, particularly in low-income and working class urban neighborhoods.

By and large, the model worked. Home visiting programs have proliferated nationwide, providing everything from home-based addiction recovery services to lactation support.

There are a growing number of home visiting programs that focus specifically on families with young children. Given the demanding nature of parenting infants and toddlers, home visiting is a particularly effective way to ensure that young families are receiving the services and support that they need. In Onondaga County, Nurse-Family Partnership and Healthy Starts, among other programs, provide healthcare and education to expectant moms and parents with infant children.

A closer look at the local home-visiting landscape, however, reveals a troubling gap. After a child’s second birthday, the number of home visiting programs operating in Onondaga County plummets.

“The only available home visiting program for parents with children over two necessitates a referral from welfare services” says Bethany Creaser, Director of Educational Services at Catholic Charities. “We’d get calls from families with two year olds, three year olds, and unless they self-refer to child protective services, there are just no programs available.”

This programmatic drop off occurs during an especially formative time for young children and their parents. Two and three year olds are learning the intricacies of emotional expression and regulation. They’re also laying the neurological groundwork for kindergarten and beyond. The oft-quoted ‘Word Gap’ unfolds in the two to five year old range, with real implications for a child’s academic trajectory.

 

“We knew pretty quickly that Parent Child Home Program was a good fit,” says Kara Williams, the Director of Strategic Initiatives at the Allyn Family Foundation. “The equity and social justice framing really appealed to us – the program prioritizes recruiting staff from within the community, and they’re known for employing graduates of the program.”

Please click here to read the full article on The Allyn Family Foundation Blog.

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