We continue with our profiling of our new programs with an agency and program many of you are probably familiar with because of its long-time, outstanding service to Central Texas. Any Baby Can was also the beneficiary of this year’s 3M 1/2 Marathon, one of the more popular annual events here in Austin. They’ve been kind enough to share with us a wonderful story below, and you’ll no doubt want to read more stories about the impact they are making here.
Any Baby Can Child and Family Resource Center has served Austin/Travis County and its surrounding communities for more than 28 years as a premiere, comprehensive family service organization. Any Baby Can’s mission is to ensure that all children reach their potential through education, therapy, and family support services. In 2007, Any Baby Can brought help and hope to over 5,000 of Austin’s youngest, sickest, and poorest children.
Most families participating in the Any Baby Can Healthy and Fair Start (HFS) program have multiple risk factors including very low income, unstable housing, low literacy levels, limited job skills, limited English language skills, social isolation, lack of personal transportation, and limited knowledge of community resources. Parents of children birth to five years find support and encouragement in the HFS Program to create a healthy, positive home environment. Participating children consistently display improvements in cognitive skills, emotional adjustment, expressive language, and fine motor abilities, while their moms and dads improve parenting techniques, establish support systems, and secure community resources for their family.
This summer, an Any Baby Can case worker from the HFS Program began working with Cecilia*, a young mother of a 3 month old baby girl. Cecilia had only completed an 8th grade education, her housing situation was unstable, and she was extremely socially isolated. Her baby displayed possible signs of delay and had little response to stimulus. “As a new mother, Cecilia desperately wanted to be a good parent but had no positive role models or any reference for appropriate developmental milestones” said HFS Program Manager, Jill Smith.
Cecilia has now been in the HFS Program for 6 months. At weekly home visits, her case worker provides education and guidance about child development, nutrition, the importance of bonding, and effective parenting techniques. Cecilia has worked hard to create a positive home environment and learn appropriate ways to stimulate and nurture her child. Now, Cecilia’s baby is much more active, interested in books and toys, and developmentally on-target. Cecilia is visiting friends and relatives and she is more engaged with her baby. Most importantly, Cecilia is proud of her success and says that now “she is excited about her family’s future.”
*Mother’s name has been changed