Foun­da­tion pro­vides grant for Healthy Families Teen Project

Record Observer - - News -

STEVENSVILLE — El­i­gi­ble teenage moth­ers and their ba­bies in Kent, Queen Anne’s and Tal­bot coun­ties are learn­ing im­por­tant par­ent­ing skills through­out the year thanks to a grant from the Ameri­group Foun­da­tion awarded to local group, Ch­e­sa­peake Char­i­ties.

The $27,500 grant sup­ports Healthy Families Mid­Shore’s Healthy Families Teen Project. This project serves local teens who are pregnant and at-risk of poor birth out­comes. Early re­sults show the pro­gram has helped to im­prove ac­cess to pre­na­tal care, de­crease preterm and low-weight ba­bies, and con­nect families to other med­i­cally nec­es­sary ser­vices, in­clud­ing de­pres­sion coun­sel­ing ser­vices.

The Healthy Families Teen Project uses an ev­i­dence­based ac­cred­ited home vis­it­ing model. Trained home vis­i­tors build a sus­tained re­la­tion­ship with par­tic­i­pants that im­pacts in­fant well­ness by con­duct­ing de­vel­op­men­tal screens, pro­vid­ing re­fer­rals to com­mu­nity re­sources and de­liv­er­ing in­for­ma­tion on es­sen­tial par­ent­ing skills. The cur­ricu­lum guides teen par­ents to be self-suf­fi­cient, prob­lem solvers and to build skills to re­duce stress. New moth­ers also are taught the im­por­tance of breast feed­ing to their child’s de­vel­op­ment.

“Noth­ing is more precious or has more po­ten­tial than a child,” said Dr. Lelin Chao, med­i­cal direc­tor, Ameri­group Mary­land. “We’re proud to work with the Healthy Families Teen Project to sup­port teen moms in Mary­land’s eastern shore in get­ting their chil­dren off to strong starts and pointed to­ward bright fu­tures.”

Ash­ley Knapp, who has a master’s de­gree in so­cial work and pre­vi­ously served as an in­tern for Healthy Families, con­ducts the home vis­its, while Stacey Wood­worth su­per­vises the pro­gram. Ac­cord­ing to Wood­worth, a re­cent par­tic­i­pant said she liked the pro­gram be­cause she could ask ques­tions about her baby in her home with­out be­ing judged.

Fund­ing for the project was awarded to Ch­e­sa­peake Char­i­ties, a com­mu­nity foun­da­tion, for Healthy Families Mid-Shore. The Healthy Families Teen Project op­er­ates un­der the di­rec­tion of the Queen Anne’s County Depart­ment of Health in part­ner­ship with Tal­bot County Health Depart­ment and Kent County Health Depart­ment. For more in­for­ma­tion, please con­tact Shelly Neal-Ed­wards, LCSW-C, pro­gram direc­tor, at 410-758-0720 X 4464.

Ch­e­sa­peake Char­i­ties is a com­mu­nity foun­da­tion that sup­ports a wide range of char­i­ta­ble causes in­clud­ing ed­u­ca­tion, health and hu­man ser­vices, an­i­mal wel­fare, and the en­vi­ron­ment. All of its 75 funds have a com­mon cause – a pas­sion for mak­ing a dif­fer­ence in their com­mu­ni­ties. To­gether they have in­vested more than $8 mil­lion in the Ch­e­sa­peake Bay re­gion since 2005.

For more in­for­ma­tion, con­tact Ch­e­sa­peake Char­i­ties at 410-643-4020, email linda@chesa­peakechar­i­ties.org, or visit www. chesa­peakechar­i­ties.org. Ch­e­sa­peake Char­i­ties is ac­cred­ited by the Na­tional Stan­dards for U.S. Com­mu­nity Foun­da­tions.

CON­TRIB­UTED PHOTO

From left, Stacey Wood­worth, su­per­vi­sor with Healthy Families; Mary Ann Glea­son, grants spe­cial­ist for Ch­e­sa­peake Char­i­ties; and Ash­ley Knapp of Healthy Families.

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