Healthy Families Grant Will Help Expand Service
To More Moms
By Susan Carol
Healthy Families Rappahannock Area (HFRA) received $5,600 that will be used to support an expanding program that assists mothers considered to be in high risk situations such as prenatal concerns or mothers with new infants. Program Manager Michele Powell said the mothers may be dealing with abuse, isolation, lack of education or living in poverty, for example. The cases are usually referred by hospital or health department officials for early intervention.
Last year, nearly 450 mothers were identified, Healthy Families completed 288 comprehensive home visits, and continue to provide ongoing support to another 100 families. Such follow up can continue up to five years.
Ms. Powell said that while they were a past recipient of an award from the Women and Girls Fund, she was holding her breath. "We were very excited to hear the news," she said, adding that she also enjoyed the voting process and being able to "put faces to the fund."
The 15-year old program originally was designed for first-time moms, but they are learning that mothers with their second child can still be at risk. The new funding will help them add another person to their current staff of seven paraprofessionals. It will also help to fund resources that are provided to moms in both English and Spanish, and a database Healthy Families uses to collect and measure social indicators, Powell reported.
Powell said Healthy Families staff members receive a year of extensive training. They must learn how to gain the trust of the moms and know how to use a comprehensive assessment guide for determining the needs of both the moms and their babies when they make the first home visit. They are helping the mothers identify their strengths and weaknesses, and helping them make a plan that enables them to take necessary steps toward a healthier life.
For more information visit www.healthyfamiliesrappahannock.org.
The Community Foundation
Rappahannock River Region
P.O. Box 208