Caring for a new baby with Neonatal Abstinence Syndrome (NAS) can be very stressful and overwhelming. Don’t worry Mama, home visiting programs are here to help you!
What is home visiting?
Home visitation programs are free to you. The purpose is to provide you and your family with information and support as you navigate your pregnancy and the early years of your child’s life. Home Visitors typically can connect you with resources that you may need in your community.
As a home visitor, I cannot tell you how many times I have heard families tell me that parenting is rewarding, but also the most difficult, thing they have ever done. An infant’s brain is growing and developing so rapidly in those first years it is hard to keep up with all of the “right things” that a parent needs to do to help their baby be their very best. Parenting is difficult even in the best of circumstances, and when coupled with other stressful life events, it becomes even more challenging. During these times, support from others is critical. Unfortunately, due to a parent’s own adverse childhood experiences parents may find it difficult to share with others what they may be feeling. home visiting agency may be your answer to these challenging situations.
A home visitor will not only assist with linking your family to meet their basic needs such as clean diapers, formula, and transportation but they will be available to help motivate your family to meet your goals. A home visitor will educate your family on developmental milestones of your infant, and locate resources, if needed. A home visitor can screen for postpartum depression and link you to a medical provider that can help treat your anxiety or depression. A home visitor is trained in active listening in order to build strong relationships. A home visitor is equipped to support families and navigate resources.
There are a few home visiting programs throughout West Virginia. They will be described in more detail in this blog issue!
Right From the Start (RFTS) is a statewide program that helps West Virginia mothers and their babies live healthier lives by offering home visitation services with a Designated Care Coordinator (registered nurse or licensed social worker). RFTS services are FREE and support mothers, their new babies and their families by helping create a safe, nurturing home. The Designated Care Coordinators discuss any questions and concerns you may have and help you find the resources you need.
Parents as Teachers (PAT) is another free statewide home visiting program that helps support families from pregnancy up until the child is five years old. This program’s mission is “to provide the information, support, and encouragement parents need to help their children develop optimally during the crucial early years of life”. Some of the services that this program provides are early screenings for developmental delays, activities that are age appropriate, and an age appropriate children’s book at each visit.
Early Head Start is a home visiting program in the state that helps support a child’s school readiness skills. This is accomplished through weekly home visits that include fun learning activities for the child. In addition, there are support groups for teen parents as well as social events and Family Fun Nights that are help for families in the program to interact. In order to be eligible for this program, you have to either be pregnant or have a child between the ages of newborn to 3 years. Priority for the program is given to the families who meet the Head Start income guidelines.
If home visiting seems right for you and your family please contact one of these programs today!
Right from the Start: https://www.wvdhhr.org/rfts/provider/forms/dcc/R019_Referral_Form.pdf
Parents as Teachers: https://parentsasteachers.org/
Early Head Start: https://ncwvcaacorp.net/programs/head-start-early-head-start/
Tracie Murphy has been employed with Burlington UM family Services and a Licensed Social Worker for 23.5 years to which 9 of those years she has been a home visitor with the Right From the Start Program out of the Grafton, WV office.
Ashleigh Blair is a program coordinator for the WV IMPACT program who specializes in clinical health coaching. She holds a Master’s degree in Health Promotion from the University of Delaware.