The following is a family’s impact from an early learning program, as told by Bette Green, a long time Parent Educator in a Mercer County Family Center. It truly speaks to the strength of the Parents As Teachers home visiting program. It allows parents to gain knowledge regarding child development, as well as, supporting families in building their family strengths and supports.
A family was referred to the Mercer County Family Center through Children and Youth Services. This was a mother of four children, who had lost custody of her oldest child to the child’s father, and her current partner, who was the father of youngest three children. The youngest child was diagnosed as failure to thrive, and was in need of intervention services.
The family enrolled in the Family Center and through the Parent As Teachers home visits, began to gain understanding of child development and the impact of their parenting on the children. After much mentoring and coaching, their mindset changed. They understood the importance of receiving necessary Early Intervention services to improve their child’s future so much that the father walked the youngest child in a stroller to weekly speech and physical therapy sessions. The family had no transportation and had very rarely been employed.
In the meantime the mother became pregnant with baby number five. For the first time she sought out pre-natal care and planned to attend all of her doctor visits. The family set a new goal of getting a car of their own to meet their transportation needs. This lead to the father finding a full-time job for the first time in his adult life. They were assisted in finding a car and he maintained that job for over a year. He was eventually laid-off, and did not want his children to see him as not working, so he took a job through a temp agency rather that accepting unemployment compensation. This temporary position led to him being offered a full-time position with benefits at that business and his family is currently self- supporting.