Becoming a parent isn’t easy! Too little sleep, financial troubles, and learning how to balance work and home with the demands of caring for an infant who’s needs can’t wait can be overwhelming − even the most loving parents. When families are already stressed and their social supports are unreliable, children are at higher risk of being neglected or abused.
The first three years of a child’s life are the most crucial to their emotional and physical development and all children deserve a safe, stable, nurturing home environment.
Home visiting programs like Gift of Life’s Parents As Teachers, Nurse-Family Partnership and Fathers in Action help because they educate parents on ways to cope with the stress of parenting.
Home visiting has shown positive results because services are delivered to families in an environment they are most comfortable in − their homes. Many studies have shown that home visiting can reduce child abuse and neglect and improve parents’ effectiveness.
Gift of Life’s home visitors are registered nurses, paraprofessionals and social workers who are trained to provide services that include:
- Connecting families to community resource providers
- Training parents to effectively nurture and discipline their children by redirecting negative behavior
- Reduce risks of harm in the home; and
- Educating parents about healthy practices during pregnancy, infant care, and family planning
Much of what we know about the effectiveness of home visiting programs comes from evaluations of The Nurse-Family Partnership (NFP), which is offered by Gift of Life. The program has been shown to reduce child maltreatment by nearly half (48%), and is considered the premier intervention program for preventing child maltreatment. Additionally, NFP was found to be particularly effective for at-risk families with fewer resources and greater stress.
If you need help coping with parental stress, help is available. For more information about preventing child abuse, call the Alabama Department of Child Abuse and Neglect Prevention at (334) 262-2951. If you suspect child abuse or neglect, call Montgomery County DHR (334) 293-3100 or The Montgomery County Sheriff’s Department (334) 832-4980 or the Montgomery Police Department (334) 241-2790.
- Alabama Department of Child Abuse and Neglect Prevention
- Children’s Trust Fund of Alabama – For information, resources and support on child abuse prevention: (334) 262-2951 • www.ctf.alabama.gov
- Alabama Department of Human Resources – To report suspected incidents of child abuse and neglect: (334) 242-1310 • www.dhr.alabama.gov
- Childhelp USA – A 24-hour hotline that offers crisis intervention, information & referrals: (800) 4-A-CHILD • www.childhelp.org
- Grandparent Information Center – Support and resources for grandparents raising grandchildren: (800) 424-3410 • www.aarp.org
- Prevent Child Abuse America – A resource for tips, referrals, and parenting materials: (800) CHILDREN • www.preventchildabuse.org