As any mom will tell you, the first few years of parenthood are not always easy. So many questions, so much differing advice, and a new life to nurture and protect. And for some moms these difficulties are compounded by factors like housing insecurity, lack of spousal support, or cultural acclimation for immigrants. Home Start’s First 5 First Steps program can help.
Who we are
First 5 San Diego was created to promote the health and well-being of children during their first five years of development. As part of our mission to strengthen families in order to protect children, Home Start Inc. partners with First 5 San Diego to offer the First Steps family support program in the East County. This program provides new mothers with highly-trained and personal advisors that provide in-home advice up until the children reach three years old.
“First 5First Steps promotes positive parenting and enhances child health and development for families who may face hardships and stressors that place them at increased risk for poor health and developmental outcomes.”
Services we provide through First 5 First Steps
During visits with a Family Support Specialist, families can learn about what to expect at each stage of their child’s growth. They can gain parenting tips and tools, and set goals for their family’s future. Advisors can help ensure the home is safe for baby and suggest interactive ways to help children learn. Parents gain the tools necessary to manage stress and cope with the challenges of raising a family. Every client has different needs and the goal is to create a personal, trusting connection based on individual requirements.
One young mother, as a full-time active duty service member, struggled with the long separations from her son during her deployments. Her Family Support Specialist was able to help her find ways to reconnect with her child and lessen the effect of the separations for both of them.
Another client spent a month visiting her twins in the NICU after they were born prematurely while also caring for her husband who suffered from early-onset Alzheimer’s and Parkinson’s Disease. As the girls turned one, they lost their father and the mother was left to raise three young girls on her own. Her Family Support Specialist was there to offer encouragement and advise her on all of the services available to her and her family.
Program Manager, Allison Sutherland, notes that with all of the programs available that focus on babies, First 5 First Steps emphasizes the importance of the parent’s well-being as well.
“It’s about lifting the mom up so that she can lift up her child.”
As children reach their third birthday, First 5 First Steps brings all of the families together for a fun-filled graduation party. This allows parents to connect and build a network of support while visualizing their kids reaching an important milestone. And, of course, it’s fun for all of the kids too.
Home Start’s First 5 First Steps program is one of the many ways we aim to protect children from the very beginning by building strong San Diego families. For more information or to contact us, please visit us here.