In FY2013-14, PACS was awarded a contract from First 5LA as part of its Best Start Family Strengthening Initiative. The Select Home Visitors (SHV) Program works with infants and new mothers of high risk families to support the parents and promote a healthy parent-child relationship. The SHV staff assists families with building and sustaining community partnerships that will cultivate and strengthen the nurturing parent-child relationship(s) and promote healthy childhood growth and development. It enhances family functioning by reducing risk and building protective factors.
SHV offers a variety of family-focused services that are personal, one-to-one and supportive to parents. It helps families build on their strengths so that infants/toddlers are nurtured through each developmental stage.
The program focuses on the following outcomes:
- Reduced child maltreatment;
- Improved parent-child interaction and school readiness;
- Decreased dependency on public assistance and other social services;
- Increased access to primary care medical services; and
- Increased immunization rates.
Currently, PACS’s SHV team is made up of a manager, two team supervisors and four home visitors with language capacity in English, Spanish, and Samoan. The staff is trained in the Nurturing Parent Program (NPP), a family centered EBP that is done in the home that follows a manualized protocol over a 55 week period. Some of the activities and exercises in NPP are parenting skills, self-nurturing activities for the family, practice exercises in the home, infant/toddler activities and family hugs.
The referrals come from the Welcome Baby Programs at St. Mary’s Hospital and Millers/Long Beach Memorial Hospital. This process begins when the mother has her first prenatal “Well Baby” visit. The hospital social worker uses the Bridges Assessment Tool to determine eligibility into the program. After the baby’s birth, a second Bridges Assessment is administered to see if a referral to the SHV Program is appropriate.
A family assessed as at-risk show high markers in any of the following areas: mental illness, homelessness, substance abuse while pregnant, financial instability, have more than one child under 5 years old, domestic violence, past trauma, insufficient food in the home and may be underserved due to a language barrier. PACS’s referrals will be families from the Central Long Beach area. We can only accept referrals from the designated hospitals.
Once the referral is made, PACS home visitor will make contact with the mother within 48 hours and inform her of SHV services and schedule the first home visit. Home visitors will meet with the family in the home at least one time per week for approximately 1 hour for the first six months. The home visitor supports the mother by teaching her parenting skills, linking the family to services in the community, advocating for them with various agencies, and providing referrals when necessary for services. After the first six months, visits may occur less frequently depending on the family’s progress and challenges. Services can be offered up until the child’s 5th birthday but may be terminated sooner depending on the family’s progress.