The two generation impact of home visiting can be life changing.
Below is a success story shared with us from Catholic Charities of the Diocese of Pueblo Parents as Teachers program.
For nearly two years our home visitor has worked to engage and support a local family. The family entered the program as a referral from the Child Welfare Department of Pueblo County Department of Human Services (DHS). At the time of the referral, the family was living in a shed. A local school had made a report to Pueblo DHS because the family’s older boy was going to school in soiled clothing and had poor hygiene. The Case Worker from DHS, sent in the referral to our program because after receiving utilities assistance from DHS the family had refusing to let the caseworker back into their home. The Case Worker made a referral for this family because they had one child that was eligible for Parents as Teachers (PAT) services.
After rejecting DHS, the family allowed the Parents as Teachers home visitor into their home and enrolled their child into PAT. Over the last two years our home visitor has become a trusted resource for the family. Rather than pushing the home visitor away, the family has welcomed her, eagerly engaging in home visiting activities to build their child’s growth and development.
The family will be leaving the program this month, as their child has successfully completed Parents as Teachers. During their participation, the youngest child has met all of his milestones and is developing on target and ready for preschool. The oldest child that was the cause for the initial referral from DHS, has also improved in his attitude and school performance. Along the way during their involvement with PAT, the home visitor has given these parents, parenting tips and skills to help with the discipline and behavior of all their children.
The impact goes beyond the children as the mother has decided to pursue her High School Diploma due to the encouragement of her home visitor. This mother told her home visitor that this has always been her dream and she never thought she would achieve it. With the support and guidance of her Parents as Teachers home visitor she will accomplish this dream.
Losing a job is always a shock. For many of the parents in our programs it can be catastrophic. In these moments, the support parents receive from their home visitors is invaluable.
Lupe* has been a part of the Growing Home Parents as Teachers program for two years. She was recently fired without being given any reason, and when she asked about her final check her supervisor said it would be mailed. However, after three weeks of checking her mail continuously, nothing arrived.
Distraught, she called her Parents as Teachers home visitor asking for advice. Her home visitor suggested contacting the owner (rather than her supervisor) and helped her prepare mentally for the conversation. Talking to the owner paid off – literally – as the next time the home visitor saw Lupe she had her final check in hand.
Being able to work with a trusted ally, like her home visitor, gave Lupe the confidence to to stand up for her rights in a difficult situation. Home visiting and the relationships it creates improve the lives of families in myriad ways.
In December, 2018, one of Clayton Early Learning‘s home visitors was assigned a homeless family that came to the HIPPY program from Clayton’s Community Services team. Her first visit with the family was in a very small one room trailer that was given to them by a family member until the family’s financial circumstances improved. The mother had lost her job and CCAP, and her husband had left the family.
Despite the many difficulties she was facing, the parent was incredibly kind and gracious during every visit. The mother’s number one goal was to get all three of her children, who were all enrolled in HIPPY, into a full time early childhood education program so that she could go back to work. With guidance and support from her home visitor, the mother was able to get her CCAP benefits restored and register the children in a full time early childhood education program successfully. This enabled the mother to her previous employment.
The family benefited from referrals that the home visitor was able to suggest; so that over time the family accessed a food pantry and mental health services. She was able to benefit from mental health services for herself and one of her children.
During the holidays Clayton was able to give each member of the family a gift from our community collaborations. The family was overjoyed and appreciative, since the parent was not able to afford any Christmas gifts for her children. Though the family was not in our program for long, they received what they needed during a time when there were not other resources available to them.
On her last visit this mother said to her home visitor:
“I couldn’t have done any of this without you.”
A mother enrolled in Pueblo’s SafeCare and HIPPY programs shared the impact of home visiting on her family. Through home visiting from Catholic Charities of Pueblo she and her family were able to find stability.
Earlier this year, my family was having a very tough time, along with other challenges, we had a car accident. My infant, nine-year-old, husband, and I were fine, but our car was not. The money we saved to move into our own place went to car repairs.
Things seemed to be going from bad to worse, when I met Jewl with Catholic Charities. She was just what we needed at this low point. We joined the Catholic Charities SafeCare Program for the baby. SafeCare provided us with the information and tools needed to childproof our home and keep our crawling baby protected. Jewl also referred us to Catholic Charities’ Home Stability Program, where they provided our first month’s rent, and we were able to pay our deposit, with my husband’s first paycheck. At last, we had a home to call our own.
We were still struggling to make ends meet, and I was frantically hunting for a job when Jewl told me about the HIPPY Program where parent can serve by helping other families get their kids ready for school while earning and education award for themselves. Excitedly, I applied and was chosen as a HIPPY Home Visitor!
Now, my family is doing so much better. Our children are safe and thriving. My husband and I can envision a future for ourselves and our children. We are so grateful that Catholic Charities entered our lives, lightened and load, and helped us get back on our feet. I am serving as HIPPY AmeriCorps Member with Catholic Charities and love helping others, while serving with an agency that helps families.
Sometimes, parenthood is scary
Already a mother of two, Sara experienced complications during her pregnancy with her daughter, Emilee, that led to an early delivery. Her daughter’s lungs were underdeveloped, and she was put on oxygen to help her breathe.
Although Sara was an experienced mom, she hadn’t raised a newborn in several years, and she’d never cared for a medically fragile baby.
“I was afraid,” she remembers.
Thankfully, Sara’s family receives care through the Westside Pediatric and Adolescent Clinic in Denver. Her pediatrician asked if she’d like to enroll in their HealthySteps program, and Sara said yes.
HealthySteps is a unique early childhood program that places a childhood development specialist within a pediatric primary care team. Working together, the doctor and HealthySteps specialist provide integrated care and support parents through the challenging first three years of a child’s life. HealthySteps specialists also connect families to other community resources as needed.
Sara credits her HealthySteps specialist with coaching her through the first anxious months of her daughter’s life and helping her access groceries, clothing and furniture after she moved out of an unhealthy living situation. Today, Sara and her family are thriving, and, at 11 months, Emilee is off oxygen and learning to speak and walk.
“I don’t have the words to explain how grateful I am,” Sara says of HealthySteps. “Just knowing there’s someone there to support you with what you’re going through. It’s life changing.”