Family Support & Prevention Services gives support and guidance to families and their young children. Our trained staff educates parents so they can build a strong foundation for their family’s growth. All programs are offered free of charge in English and Spanish to families in the Greater Norwalk area and are on a voluntary basis. Services include the following:
Nurturing Families Network
The Nurturing Families Network provides screening and assessment, group support and intensive home visiting for new parents who are at high-risk for child abuse and neglect. The program focuses on nurturing parenting, child development, and health and community resources through three main programs:
- Nurturing Home Visiting provides trained home visitors to help first-time families in Norwalk by offering regular home visits for up to five years, education on parenting and child development, and access to important community resources.
- Nurturing Connections offers phone support, parenting education and referrals to services for new, first-time families. Service provided by trained volunteers.
- Nurturing Groups are regularly-held prenatal and parenting groups in both English and Spanish for families with a child between birth and 5 years old. Childcare is offered as part of the curriculum.
In the spring of 2007 a Nurturing Fathers Program initiative was launched at Family & Children’s Agency. Our goal is to prevent child abuse and neglect by increasing the participation of fathers in the lives of their children, increasing the fathers’ knowledge about their children’s developmental needs, and promoting bonding and attachment between fathers and their children. This program is focused on those fathers whose families are participating in the Children’s Trust Fund’s Nurturing Families Network program, as well as men whose families are involved with other home visiting programs at Family & Children’s Agency that serve families with children under the age of five.
Parents as Teachers (PAT)
PAT is a voluntary family education and support program based on the philosophy that parents are their children’s first and most influential teachers. PAT works with families prenatally until children enter Kindergarten and provides the information, support and encouragement parents need to help their children develop optimally during the critical early development years.
THE MATERNAL OUTREACH AND MENTORING SERVICE (MOMS) PROJECT AND HEALTHY START
Like the Nurturing Families Network, both The MOMS Project and Healthy Start are designed for high-risk pregnant or parenting families in the Greater Norwalk community. Our goals are to increase the number of healthy babies born and reduce child abuse and neglect through education and an ongoing, positive relationship with a “Mentor,” who provides support and is an advocate for participants.
The MOMS Project provides intensive weekly home visits to families until the child is 3 years old. The Healthy Start program provides community referrals and in-office case management to families below 180% poverty line.
Participants in each of these programs receive:
- Accurate health-related information for pregnant and parenting women;
- Education on parenting and Child Development
- Linkages to health care and other community resources
Child and Family Interagency Resource, Support, and Training (Child FIRST)
Child FIRST (Child and Family Interagency Resource, Support, and Training) works with families to decrease the incidence of serious emotional disturbance, developmental and learning problems among young children. Child FIRST is a home-based early childhood intervention program that works to decrease the incidence of serious emotional disturbance, developmental and learning problems, and abuse and neglect among high-risk young children and families.
Through a community collaboration with Mid Fairfield Child Guidance Center and the Norwalk Community Health Center, Child FIRST identifies children (prenatally through age five years) living in high-risk environments or who show the earliest signs of emotional, behavioral, or developmental problems. Children are identified through screening and/or mental health consultation in community sites or through referral from a community partner who is concerned about the well-being of a young child. The Child FIRST model, takes a two-pronged approach:
- Comprehensive assessment, home-based parent guidance and parent-child psychotherapeutic services
- Coordinated hands-on connection to community resources for all family members
Child FIRST Works!
Child FIRST has shown to be a very effective model of service for high-risk families with young children who participate in the program. After participating in Child FIRST
- Children are less likely to have language problems.
- Children are less likely to have aggressive and defiant behaviors.
- Mothers have significantly lower levels of depression and mental health problems.
- Families are less likely to be involved with child protective services.
Can You Volunteer?
We always need help with phone calls and childcare during support groups offered through the Family Support & Prevention Services. To learn more about volunteering, visit our volunteering page.
FOR MORE INFORMATION
For more information on our Family Support & Prevention Services, contact Mary Kate Locke, Director of Adoption & Prevention Services at (203) 523-5754 or email firstname.lastname@example.org.