What is the Early Childhood Initiative?

  • County-based and grant-funded child abuse prevention program
  • Voluntary participation
  • Targeted specifically to families in the Allied Drive area
  • Families are referred from Meriter or St. Mary’s Hospital, and JFF social workers
  • Self referrals are also accepted
  • Focus on parent/child relationships and infant/child development
  • Provides parent support, education and family empowerment, promoting self-sufficiency and stabilization through a collaborative effort with other community service providers
  • Each family assigned to a Family Support Specialist
  • Employment Specialist available to assist, support and provide resources for employment

Who is eligible?

  • Families must live in the Allied Drive area at the time of sign-up
  • Expectant mothers, parents and caregivers with children up to 12 months of age
  • Children must presently live with parent(s) or caregiver

Goals

  • Prevent child abuse and neglect through family strengthening
  • Increase parents’ knowledge of child development and growth
  • Promote healthy families through parent-child relationships
  • Improve job skills to become employed or for job advancement
  • Provide prevention or early intervention services that promote healthy child development
  • Assist in setting the stage for school readiness and detecting any developmental delays

What is involved?

  • Weekly to bi-weekly home visitation by a matched Family Support Specialist
  • Development of a family plan that will guide activities and assistance
  • Parent education and support using a blend of standard curriculum and knowledge of family strengths to build parenting skills, promote parent/child attachment, and optimal child development
  • Individual and group job skills training and job search
  • Facilitated access to additional support and resources through collaborative partners
  • Health and development screening and assessment of infants
  • Parental care support with other health care providers
  • Access to assessment and treatment for adult mental health/AODA services
  • Addressing basic needs to promote family stabilization and a move toward self-sufficiency
  • Monthly potluck and parent meetings to promote nutrition