HANDS continues to make profound differences in the lives of first-time and new parents and their newborns and infants, reflecting improvements in interactions, living arrangements and job opportunities, so we want to take this opportunity to share some of these results, and to say thanks to our dedicated and hardworking Family Service Workers.
One FSW is working with a young father, just 20, who is raising his baby alone after the mother sadly died during delivery. Taking full responsibility for his baby, he was initially detached, and didn’t talk to or touch the baby. With help, he is making progress, and recently put his finger in the baby’s hand for the first time – a very touching event! He is opening up more with the FSW and to help him learn, he has a visit with a caseworker for eight hours twice a week. We’re working to get his visits with the FWS doubled from one visit to two each week, and have referred the dad to a father’s support group, where he can get additional help and support. Baby and dad will both benefit.
A HANDS family that spent a year in Wayside Christian Mission has secured their own apartment and the father has a job with a local hotel. The family is slowly gathering things for the new apartment, with help from our Family Stabilization Program and others, and is settling in, committed to being a happy, healthy family.
A mother who was in the program a couple of years ago wasn’t comfortable reading to her son, but since then has changed direction, reading regularly to the boy. She also is participating in 1,000 Books Before Kindergarten, which promotes parent and child bonding through reading.
A teen mom has married her baby’s father and is working to get her diploma, and the young father, who works second shift, is transferring to first shift so he can spend more time with his wife and baby.
One young mother in the program shared with her FSW that she has told her friends about the program, and some have expressed sadness they didn’t accept their referral into the HANDS program.
In another case, a mother was approved for a townhouse, which the family can now afford thanks to money the father was able to save while he was in Job Corps, a free education and training program that helps young people learn a career, earn a diploma or GED and keep a good job. They also were able to buy a car with the savings.
Every day, HANDS workers help create positive outcomes for families and their babies – participants have a lower incidence of birthweight, fewer premature deaths and fewer developmental delays.
In fact, children of HANDS clients have shown to be more developmentally on target than other programs in the community, and families have shown a greater knowledge of child safety and better coping skills, all providing better environments to raise healthy and happy babies.