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Helping children to grow strong

I am old enough to remember the days when mothers were at home to raise the children and run the household. I remember when they were called ‘domestic engineers.’ There came a time, however, when both parents were required to work to maintain the standard the family wished to live. I remember ‘latchkey kids’ who went home after school and there was no one there. We all know that little children learn by mocking their parents and caregivers.

The State of Ohio initiated a program in 2017, Senate Bill 332, called Help Me Grow. It is designed to help parents to help their children through childhood and strive for strength in childhood that will carry the child through adulthood on the way to realizing his or her full potential. Everything is evidence-based.

The program under the supervision of the Ohio Department of Health, is comprised of early intervention, home visiting, and Mom and Babies First.

Early intervention is for children under age 3 with developmental delays or disabilities. A team comprised of a service coordinator, service providers, and family become a team that develops a coordinated family plan because it is clear that children learn best from the familiar people in their familiar settings.

Home visiting programs, says the ODH, give children the best possible start in life, lowering infant mortality rates, making sure children are ready for kindergarten, and improving parenting skills.

Participation in the home visiting is voluntary for the family support program that focuses on pregnant women or new parents and is in all of Ohio’s 88 counties. It promotes healthy growth and development of babies and young children. Working with well-trained professionals who are compassionate and nonjudgmental, parents are empowered with skills, tools and confidence that helps them to nurture their children.

Every child, regardless of their life circumstances – economic, geographic and demographics aside – should realize their full potential in life. Parents receive information they can use. They can ask questions they have about parenting and share their thoughts and feelings.

Parents can refer themselves. Someone else can refer the parents, but the parents decide whether they want to participate or not.

In 2019 Gov. DeWine announced the Pay for Success program. A pilot program, it is a public-private partnership to make the program more accessible.

“Strong children grow into strong adults,” said Gov. Mike DeWine, a proponent of the programming.

For more information about Help Me Grow, contact the contract manager, Julie Shea at Columbiana County Developmental Disabilities Board, 330-424-0288 or the Families and Children First Council coordinator, Steve Ullom, 330-424-9591.

Every parent wants their children to succeed in school, in life. Parents don’t always have the skills they need to make success possible. But there is help to empower parents who are willing to reach out and accept it.

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Family Recovery Center helps families to find ways to navigate through these challenging times. For more information about the agency’s treatment and education programs, contact FRC at 964 N. Market St., Lisbon; phone, 330-424-1468, or email, info@familyrecovery.org. FRC is funded in part by the Columbiana County Mental Health and Recovery Services Board.

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