Healthy Families Provides New Parents With Tools for Success

Early Childhood Development, Parenting Support
When J and Anna discovered they were expecting their first child, they were faced with the typical insecurities of first-time parents: How do you care for a baby? Will we be good parents? What if we need help?

Neither J nor Anna had good parental role models growing up, but they wanted to make sure they could successfully support their child. So they began working with Taylor Espinoza, a Healthy Families family support worker (FSW), who began regular home visits with them to discuss their child’s development and provide support for the first-time parents.

“We have discussed bonding and attachment, social and emotional stages, developmental stages and depression,” says Espinoza. Because of regular home visits, Espinoza says, both parents became more open with her.

“I was wondering how I was going to benefit from Healthy Families and what I was going to learn,” says Anna. “I was both nervous and excited. I wasn’t sure if I was going to like my FSW.”
“Anna was nervous and felt awkward about being a mom” after her initial home visit, Espinoza shares, “but now she is just so natural with her baby. You can tell Anna and J love Sean so much.”

Witnessing the progression from worry and insecurity to love and education between first-time parents and their children is just one aspect of Healthy Families. On top of providing home visits and assistance in child development, Healthy Families also ensures parents are equipped to continue providing and advocating for their children after graduating from the program.
“Don’t be scared to go find help if you need it,” says Anna.

J adds, “With the help of Healthy Families, I am more confident at being a parent. I’m not as afraid.” J and Anna are currently preparing to go back to school, and are enjoying reading to Sean and watching him continue to develop and explore. ❖

NVFS believes that every parent or caregiver deserves the support and resources necessary to achieve success. The four goals of NVFS’ Healthy Families are to promote positive, nurturing, responsive parenting; improve child health and development; promote school readiness; and prevent child abuse and neglect. The program is designed for parents facing challenges such as single parenthood; low income; childhood history of abuse and other adverse child experiences; and current or previous issues related to substance abuse, mental health issues, and/or domestic violence.