November 24, 2014

Guiding Teen Parents Toward Success

The Independence School District’s (ISD) Teen Parenting Support program offers expectant and new teen parents opportunities to continue their education while getting support for all of the new responsibilities facing them. The ISD not only uses home visitation and case management to support teen parents, but provides an opportunity for them to bring their children into the classroom and get hands on support and education.  Since receiving grant funding from Children’s Trust Fund, the program has been able to increase the level of support to parents through implementation of the Love & Logic Parent Model, and after school opportunities for parents and their families.  We spoke with John Tramel, Director of Neighborhood and Family Services for the district, along with Nicole Sequeira, Family Service Coordinator/McKinney-Vento Liaison and Juanice Williams, Teen Parenting Specialist about the program and how it helps build a strong foundation and a greater chance for success.  Tramel reports that over 90% of their teen parents graduate from high school but, beyond graduation, they want to make sure the components are in place so that students can follow and implement their career path and ultimately reach their life goals.

AUDIO: Community Partnerships

AUDIO: Program Goals

AUDIO: Starting a Similar Program

Educating Children and Parents about Sexual Abuse

Project Aware Activity Book coverProject Aware is a school and community based sexual abuse prevention education program, provided through the Metropolitan Organization to Counter Sexual Assault (MOCSA), Kansas City and supported by the Children’s Trust Fund.  The free program educates children, parents, school staff and interested community members throughout Jackson, Platte, Clay and Cass Counties.  Project aware teaches pre-k through 5th grade students critical information about body safety, safe and unsafe touches, how to identify a trusted adult to tell and that they have a right to tell.  The program also trains parents and teachers on how to create a safe environment for children, and provide education on the caregivers role in sexual abuse prevention.  Children with developmental disabilities are also served through Project Aware.  We spoke with Mary Hopkins, Education and Outreach Specialist, about the program.

AUDIO: Educating and debunking myths

AUDIO: Hopkins talks about ways community members can reach out.

AUDIO: Resources made available through CTF grant funding

AUDIO: Hopkins shares the story of a child who was able to receive protection through education from Project Aware.

ProjectAware2

Continuing the Connection During Separation

PATCHlogo
PATCH pic2 PATCH, which stands for Parents and Their Children, of Chillicothe, is a non-profit organization that helps children, whose mothers are incarcerated at Chillicothe Correctional Center, keep the connection during the time that they’re separated. The visits take place in a home-like setting, over 4 hours. They are supervised by PATCH staff or volunteers. The visits help to reduce the risk of abuse and neglect when the incarcerated parent is reunified with their child(ren).

PATCH also provides required parenting classes to mothers. The women complete ten classes over a five week period through the parent education course Turning Points.  Additional visits may be earned through on-going participation in PATCH Parent Support Group meetings. CTF provides grant funding for the PATCH program. We spoke with Barb Burton, Program Director, about PATCH and how it works to help build and maintain strong family relationships during the incarceration period and beyond.

PATCH pic1AUDIO: Burton describes PATCH visits and describes the program’s eligibility requirements.

AUDIO: Burton describes how PATCH has impacted mothers.

AUDIO: Burton reflects on the long-term benefits the program can have on children.

AUDIO: Burton shares the benefits the program has seen since receiving CTF funding.

AUDIO: Burton shares one of her favorite stories of a young woman who was helped by PATCH as a child.

 

Connecting Families at Fun City

end bullying picColumbia’s Fun City Youth Academy’s Connecting Families with Tools for Living program supports families in their efforts to lead healthy and productive lives, as well as find support when needed. Fun City Youth Academy has evolved over the years from a safe, supervised program for unattended children, to include cultural enrichment activities and to engage area youth and their parents in academic, cultural and recreational programs that promote academic achievement, self respect, and social responsibility, as well as link families to services and opportunities. The program offers both reading and math curricula and, most recently, developed a partnership with the Columbia Public Schools for an 8 week summer school session. The program uses the Strengthening Families Framework and the Building Strong Families curriculum. We spoke with Program Director Consuela Johnson about Fun City and how it works to enhance the lives of those it serves.

AUDIO: Fun City’s long-term goals of providing educational and cultural development

AUDIO: How CTF funding helps provide for children and their parents

AUDIO: Johnson talks about the necessity to provide for parents as well as children.

AUDIO: Johnson shares a number of examples of the variety of assistance Fun City provides.

 

Kids Count in Missouri 2013 Data Available

KidsCountCover2013University of Missouri’s Office of Social & Economic Data Analysis (OSEDA) along with the Children’s Trust Fund (CTF) recently released the KIDS COUNT in Missouri 2013 Data Book documenting the status of  children in all 114 Missouri counties and the City of St. Louis.  The annual publication is a collaborative initiative of the The Annie E. Casey Foundation, OSEDA, CTF and many other public and private organizations from across the state.  Annie Casey recently announced that The Family and Community Trust (FACT) is the newest KIDS COUNT grantee in Missouri for 2014.  FACT is a non-profit organization supporting 20 community partnerships around the state whose mission is to find solutions to improving the lives of the families and children in their communities.

The online resource provides information on measures of child well-being covering areas such as health, education, financial security, juvenile justice and child protection. The 2013 data finds that during the most recent reporting period, Missouri made improvements in seven of the key KIDS COUNT indicators including a births to moms without a high school diploma, low birth weight infants, infant mortality, teen violent deaths, percent of annual high school dropouts, and births to teens.  Three indicators worsened – students enrolled in free/reduced lunch, child abuse/neglect and family assessments and out-of-home placements.

Data for the report is compiled from more than 80 federal, state, county and municipal sources by OSEDA.  Primary funding for the project is provided by Annie E. Casey and the Children’s Trust Fund.

Kids Count Executive Summary
Missouri Profile
Composite Ranks
Understanding the Data (including Minority Profile)
2013 Databook with County Profiles
2013 Databook without County Profiles

Mentoring Young Parents

1BDDA5F5The Young Parent Program, through the New Madrid County Family Resource Center, is a mentoring program that helps young women and their partners during pregnancy and early parenting. The Young Parent Program works to help parents develop skills and independence through support, counseling and friendship.  The program focuses on continuing education, finding and maintaining employment, information on living a healthy lifestyle and practicing positive parenting skills. We spoke to Tonya Vannasdall, Director, about the program’s beginnings, the strides made and where she hopes it will go from here.

AUDIO: Vannasdall talks about the program start with the help of the Children’s Trust Fund.

AUDIO: Vannasdall says the program is meant to not only educate but provide an outlet for quality time.

AUDIO: Vannasdall chats about the long-term goals of the Young Parent Program.

AUDIO: Many of those who have been previous participants in the Young Parents program return later on to share their experiences with other parents in the program.

Providing Parent Care along with Child Care

Leigh_dunlap_Parent_classA few years ago, staff with the Jefferson City Daycare Center noticed that some of the children’s parents were struggling with having a life outside of providing for their families.  They had very little peer contact and didn’t have the resources available to participate in activities outside of home and work.

MiccaTo address the issue, Jefferson City Daycare implemented their Parent Education Program, with funding from the United Way and then the Children’s Trust Fund. It’s based upon the Strengthening Families approach to protective factors. The program provides opportunities for parents to take part in educational presentations including subjects like nutrition, infant/child CPR, dental health, budgeting, positive discipline, single parent concerns, and ideas and activities for playing with children.  The center welcomes a wide variety of speakers.  Donna Scheidt, Jefferson City Daycare Center Director, says the program has grown beyond education and is helping parents make much needed connections and friendships.

AUDIO: Scheidt talks about how the parent classes help provide support for everyday parenting

AUDIO: Scheidt talks about the power of word-of-mouth in building resources

AUDIO: Scheidt shares an example of the positive impact the program can have for parents

AUDIO: Scheidt talks about how important it is to recognize parents for the hard work that it takes to build strong families

Supporting Healthy Babies

babypicThe Columbia-Boone County Department of Public Health and Human Services has been providing home visitation services for several decades. An expansion on that practice is the Healthy Babies program, through which social service staff conduct home visits at least once per month providing support services and educational materials using the Partners for a Healthy Baby Curriculum.   As part of the support, parents are provided with health and safety items such as car seats, cribs, clothing, diapers, WIC, food stamps, Medicaid and breastfeeding support, as well as encouragement in building healthy relationships. CTF provides grant funding for a portion of the Healthy Babies program. We spoke with Steve Hollis, Human Services Manager, about Healthy Babies and its effectiveness.

Hollis says recent research supports the idea that the first years of life are extremely important and should get a lot of focus. The Healthy Babies program is a great fit for investing in early childhood development.
AUDIO: Steve Hollis discusses Healthy Babies’ investment in the stages of early life.

For many of the families involved, they may not realize their own needs before becoming a part of Healthy Babies. But once they begin receiving visits they gain so much that they don’t want it to stop.
AUDIO: Steve Hollis explains the success of Healthy Babies, and why the program works.

CTF funding has given the Columbia-Boone County Department of Public Health and Human Services an opportunity to expand the Healthy Babies program, something Hollis says came at the perfect time.
AUDIO: Steve Hollis explains how CTF’s grant supports Healthy Babies.

AUDIO: Steve Hollis discusses the importance of Healthy Babies’ partnership with CTF.

Encouraging Families with Incredible Years

Incredible_Years_LogoChildren’s Trust Fund (CTF) prevention partner Great Circle began implementing Adair County’s Incredible Years (IY) program in 2012, however the program itself was developed more than 30 years ago in Seattle. It has since been recognized by the Office of Juvenile Justice, Center for Substance Abuse Prevention and Promising Practices Network. Incredible Years works with families that include children, ages 3-12, who exhibit conduct problems or who have been diagnosed with ADD and ADHD, which make them at higher risk for abuse. The Incredible Years Nationalprogram uses a series of video courses to educate parents and caregivers about positive strategies, techniques and resources they can use to enhance and strengthen their parenting skills. Participants meet in a group setting in an effort to build a network of support for each family.  Topics include nonviolent discipline approaches and positive parent-teacher-child relationships. Great Circle offers IY three times per year.  We spoke with Lynn Van Dolah, Program Coordinator for Incredible Years about the program. She credits CTF funding for bringing the program to Adair County.

With the success of the program Van Dolah says a goal is to expand IY to reach more people:
AUDIO: Van Dolah talks about expanding IY

Van Dolah shared two testimonials from individuals who had participated in the Incredible Years program.
AUDIO: Van Dolah shares testimonials

Anyone interested in getting involved is encouraged to call for more information, 660-216-7332:
AUDIO: Getting involved with program

 

Capable Kids Provides Opportunities for Families with Special Needs

CapableKids_image1CTF Prevention grantee, The Community Partnership, Rolla, provides assistance to families within a five county area, Crawford, Dent, Maries, Phelps, and Pulaski. One of the programs that the organization has implemented is the Capable Kids and Families (CKF) Program after it became obvious that there was a need across the region by families who were caring for children with developmental disabilities or delays.  Amy Beechner-McCarthy, Community Partnership Executive Director and Jean Darnell, Capable Kids and Families Program Director were the thought leaders behind the program. It supports the families by providing home visitation, networking opportunities and assistance with developmentally appropriate therapy equipment.  Among the project’s goals is decreasing family isolation and increasing positive family interactions to help reduce the risk of child abuse and neglect. Educational opportunities focus on issues that are often triggers for abusive behavior. Opportunities are provided for positive parent/child interaction and occur in conjunction with the development and periodic review of a goals-oriented family strengths plan by each participant family.

Grant funding from Children’s Trust Fund (CTF) helps provide equipment for families that would not otherwise have access to it, for financial or other reasons.
AUDIO: Jean Darnell talks about the contributions made possible by CTF funding
AUDIO: Amy Beechner-McCarthy shares an example of a family helped by the program

Darnell recalls how a Capable Kids’ sitting device helped a four-year-old boy sit up for the very first time.
AUDIO: The difference that a piece of equipment can make

Supporters of the Capable Kids’ and Families program hope it will continue to expand beyond the current counties served.
For additional information about Capable Kids, contact Amy or Jean at 573-368-2849.