Carrie, a first-time expectant mother, was unemployed and did not have support from her family members. During her pregnancy, she also had complications and was told that she may have to be on bed rest and receive injections to speed up the baby’s lung function development. In October, Carrie enrolled in the Help Me Grow Home Visiting program at Gallia-Meigs Community Action Agency for assistance.
The Help Me Grow (HMG) program provides first-time expectant parents or parents with a child that is six-months-old or younger with home visitors that teach them an evidenced-based parenting curriculum called Parents as Teachers. Children are screened to make sure they are reaching developmental milestones. The program also provides support and referrals to other community services.
Carrie started receiving bi-weekly home visits from an experienced Help Me Grow staff person who provided her with support and education on the risks of early delivery for her and her baby. She was very inquisitive. Right from the start she attended support groups and early childhood activities held by the program.
Through the screening tools used by the home visitor it was revealed that Carrie suffered from depression, anxiety and was experiencing domestic violence in her relationship. At the suggestion of the home visitor Carrie sought out counseling for herself, and she has since left the abusive relationship.
While working with the mother the home visitor made referrals for her to the local HUD housing department, and Meigs County Department of Job and Family Services for childcare assistance so she could look for a job. The home visitor also instructed Carrie on how to apply for utility assistance from Gallia-Meigs Community Action Agency.
In January of the following year, Carrie delivered a full-term healthy baby girl. Carrie continued to attend HMG support groups and early childhood activities where she blossomed into a good young mother who even now reassures other young expectant parents. In April, she secured a part-time job at the local Goodwill thrift store and in June, Carrie got a promotion to full-time manager at the store. Now, just months later, Carrie is managing two Goodwill stores.
The Help Me Grow home visitor makes bi-monthly visits and continues to encourage and reassure Carrie that she is doing a great job as a young single mother.
For more information about Community Action programs in your area, visit www.oacaa.org. Note, not all Community Action Agencies offer these programs.