Community Action: Helping Our Youth Grow

Ken was a single father, raising a five-year-old daughter when he learned that he had another infant daughter, 17-month-old Savannah, who was removed from her mother’s custody by protective services for neglect. At the time, Ken had been unemployed for nearly a year and was living in an apartment provided by a transitional housing program. He was also attending weekly Alcoholics Anonymous meetings to support his recovery. He was interested in parenting support because he was concerned about caring for such a young child and Savannah’s eating habits.

Ken took Savannah in and enrolled her in the Help Me Grow Plus (HMG+) program at Akron Summit Community Action, Inc. The HMG+ program offers support to families with children under the age of three and pregnant mothers who are high risk.

The home visitor completed developmental screenings and provided Ken with strategies to address the child’s eating issues. The home visitor provided developmental information at each visit that helped Ken understand what was developmentally appropriate given the child’s age, and how to help encourage healthy child development through play. The HMG+ home visitor also provided ongoing support to the family with linkages to community resources.

Ken began attending GED classes, earned his GED, and went on to enroll in classes at the University of Akron to continue his education and progress toward becoming self-sufficient in providing for his children. The family moved from transitional housing to their own apartment and the HMG+ home visitor assisted in this transition by providing resources to aid the family in obtaining furniture and household items.

Upon completion of the HMG+ program, Ken was granted permanent custody of Savannah, she was enrolled in Akron Summit Community Action’s Head Start pre-school program, and the family was living in stable housing, continuing to progress toward self-sufficiency through education.