Midtown program accredited for child abuse prevention

Cornerstones of Care has been accredited as a provider of high quality home visitation services, which a national organization says helps to prevent child abuse.

Cornerstones of Care has been accredited as a provider of high quality home visitation services, which a national organization says helps to prevent child abuse.

Midtown nonprofit Cornerstones of Care’s home visitation program is the first in the state to be accredited for helping prevent child abuse.

The accreditation comes from Prevent Child Abuse America, which rates home visitation services that help families improve their children’s health, nutrition and developmental outcomes.

The Healthy Families Home Visitation Program works with expectant and new parents to develop the skills they will need to successfully raise their children.

Cornerstones of Care provided this example of a family which benefitted from its services:

“When I got pregnant as a 17 year-old, I was living with someone who was already in trouble herself with child neglect charges and drug issues,” said Vanessa. “I would trust a stranger before I trusted anyone in my family. I felt very alone and scared. When you become a teen parent, no one is checking in on you to ask ‘How are you doing today?’ But my home visitor does. She cares about how I am doing. She asks me how I am feeling.”

The probability was high that Vanessa and her child would become part of some already sad statistics. She fit several of the characteristics of an at-risk mother-to-be: a low-income single teen, estranged from her own mother with whom she had a traumatic relationship. Parents like her and those with histories of violence and physical and substance abuse stand the greatest chances of abusing and neglecting their sons and daughters and having those children removed from their care.

Wanting more for her child, Vanessa voluntarily enrolled in Healthy Families’ Home Visitation Program at Cornerstones of Care. The Home Visitation Program provides at-risk parents with in-home education and parenting support during their children’s most significant developmental period of life, prenatal to age three. It works with parents like Vanessa to promote healthy child growth and development, positive parent-child interaction and family stability.

“My home visitor helped me boost my self-esteem,” said Vanessa. “Without her encouragement, I don’t know where I would be. The Home Visiting Program helped me learn how to be a better parent, especially when I had more children and my stress increased. The program helped me figure out what my priorities are and how to achieve them. My home visitor kept saying, ‘We’ll get there.’ She believed in me.”

“Parents want to be good parents; and as parents we have all had many questions when it comes to raising a child,” said Jim Hmurovich, president and chief executive officer of PCA America. “HFA’s well-trained home visitors are trusted resources in their own communities. They help provide answers to those questions, individualized support when it is needed most, and linkages to other community services. As we congratulate Cornerstones’ Healthy Families Programs, we also recognize the state and community leadership that has contributed to success in Kansas City.”

The future looks positive for Vanessa and her family. She and the father of their three children are married and they completed Healthy Families’ Relationship Education program. She got her driver’s license so she can get herself and her children where they need to be, including preschool and kindergarten for the two oldest. “Because of my home visitor’s work in getting me connected to the right places and mainly because of her positivity, I was able to move into a Habitat for Humanity house,” said Vanessa. She has also done some trauma repair work with her mother—her children’s grandmother—so they can communicate and have a relationship.

Vanessa graduates from the Home Visitation Program this month. “During my years in the program, I have accomplished 21 goals,” said Vanessa. “My children are healthy and safe and the oldest two are now in preschool and kindergarten. It hasn’t been easy, and sometimes I struggle, but my home visitor has been there every step of the way. I am just so thankful for the program.”

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