SALT LAKE CITY, Utah (Good Things Utah) – April is Child Abuse Prevention Month. Preventing child abuse is a community effort, and Utah’s Home Visiting Programs can help. Home Visiting Programs are available to expectant mothers and new parents in Utah who need extra support. Intermountain Health plans to expand access to high-quality visiting programs through its Primary Promise philanthropic initiative to create the nation’s model health system for children.
“The wellbeing of a mother and her child can be impacted by stressors and other factors outside their control, including poverty or food or housing insecurity, which also can put them at risk for developing chronic health problems later in life,” said Angelo P. Giardino, MD, PhD, chair of the University of Utah School of Medicine’s Department of Pediatrics and chief medical officer at Intermountain Primary Children’s Hospital.
The Utah Home Visiting Program resides within the Utah State Department of Health and Human Services and is a formal program to ensure that expectant mothers and parents of young children receive parenting help, educational resources, and emotional support.
Visits are ongoing, and provided by nurses, paraprofessionals, and trained volunteers during pregnancy and afterward for families with children under age five, depending on the program. There, expectant mothers and parents of young children receive parenting help, educational resources, and emotional support.
“Home visits give parents the tools and support they need to create a safe and nurturing environment for their babies,” Giardino added. “They can be transformative for families and for the growth and health of the child.”
Home visits are tailored to the needs of the families served and can take place in the family’s home. Home visitors may accommodate to visit families in an office, park, or wherever the family is most comfortable.
Home visiting professionals provide visits and services to pregnant women and young families who would like:
– Support with their parenting journey.
– Learning about new ways to have fun with their child.
– Information about child development.
– Connections to community resources.
– Information on breastfeeding, toilet training, nutrition, home safety, and other educational resources as needed.
Home visits can boost child and maternal health, decrease stress, reduce substantiated reports for child abuse and neglect, and have positive impacts on children’s cognitive development, behavior, and school performance, according to Casey Family Programs.
Home visiting gives parents:
– Educational resources
– Parenting help
– Emotional support
Home visiting programs help:
– Child and maternal health
– Child cognitive development
– Child behavior and school performance
– Reduce substantiated child abuse/neglect reports
Home Visiting Program services are varied, and available throughout Utah. In Weber County, Intermountain Health is coordinating in-home visiting programs with Prevent Child Abuse Utah and the United Way of Northern Utah’s Welcome Baby Program.
Intermountain Health plans to expand access to high-quality visiting programs through its Primary Promise philanthropic initiative to create the nation’s model health system for children.
Women interested in participating in home visiting programs can talk to their doctor or midwife about a referral, or visit HomeVisiting.Utah.gov or the Prevent Child Abuse Utah website.
For more information on children’s health, visit IntermountainHealth.org or PrimaryChildrens.org.
To support the Primary Promise Healthy Kids initiative, visit PrimaryPromise.org.
Sponsored by Intermountain Health.