When I see a photo like this, taken of a mother and her toddler involved in our programs, I know in my gut that what we’re doing is helping both.
But that’s only what my gut tells me. It’s the statistics that prove that my intuition is correct. Here are some data about our Healthy Start program in Wasco County that Program Director, Karen Enns, shared with me recently.
The mission of the Healthy Start program is to promote and support positive parenting and healthy growth and development for parents and their first-born children. The program seeks to prevent child abuse & neglect, improve health & development outcomes and improve school readiness. The program provides the following services:
•Welcome Baby Packets & Screening for ALL first-time parents
•Home Visiting for high–risk families, which includes: weekly to monthly home visits, up to age 3 with a focus on parent-child relationships; monitoring health, growth & development; early literacy; positive parenting; crisis support and community resources.
Characteristics of home visit families:
•79% are single moms
•38% have less than a high school education
•12% are age 17 or younger
•52% report current or recent depression
•77% experienced severe lack of parental nurture
•69% have severe problems w/ substance abuse, mental illness, or criminal history
Results: Early Learning & Risk-Reduction
•97% of HS~HF parents read to their babies/children 3 or more times per week
•100% report regular positive interactions with their children (stories, singing, etc.)
•60% report reduced parenting stress
•91% report HS~HF program helped with social support
Results: Health Related
•100% of HS~HF children have a primary healthcare provider
•100% have health insurance
•88% receive regular well-child check-ups (compared to 76% statewide*)
•100% are up-to-date on immunizations (compared to 78% statewide*)
•100% receive developmental screening and referrals to early intervention (if appropriate)
•Less than 4% report use of the ER for routine care
•Increased prenatal care, increased breastfeeding, and reduced smoking among subsequent pregnancies/births
By preventing the following negative outcomes, Healthy Start saves countless dollars:
- By preventing child abuse & therefore foster care placement, we save $30,000-$200,000 per child
- By increasing use of prenatal care and preventing low birth-weight babies, we save $10,000-$28,000 per child
- By monitoring children’s development and identifying delays early, we prevent costs associated with special education services
- By increasing primary care provider use, we prevent ER use and associated costs
- By increasing immunization rates, we prevent costs associated with preventable childhood diseases and illnesses
The incidence of child abuse for children in Healthy Start is 2½ times less than for children NOT in the program.
Photos and statistics help to tell the story.