Op-Ed: Childhood Begins at Home campaign launches in Pennsylvania – Pottstown Mercury

Here in Montgomery County, our Children and Youth program office continues to place tremendous focus on family engagement efforts to ensure that children are being adequately cared for in their homes and avoid foster care placement. That means embracing supportive programming that educates at-risk families on ways to avoid child abuse and neglect. It’s important to provide this type of support so all children in our county can live safe, happy, and productive lives.

As we often say, children learn best through teaching, discussing and through observing adults who model responsible, caring, and self-disciplined behavior.

Our staff works directly with families and community resources to address risk factors and coordinate services to improve family conditions. Evidence-based home visiting programs provide families with the skills and confidence they need to be successful. In Montgomery County, families can benefit from several evidence-based home visiting programs proven to improve maternal and child health, prevent child abuse and neglect and improve family literacy and economic security. They include Early Head Start, Healthy Families America, Nurse-Family Partnership and Parents as Teachers.

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The coalition is working to build successful families in Washington and Greene Counties, joining leaders for an event at Blueprints.

Back row: Lissa Geiger Shulman, Director of Public Policy, Trying Together; Brenda Fronzaglio, Director, Blueprints; state Senator Camera Bartolotta; and Leigh Carlson Hernandez, Office of Child Development, University of Pittsburgh.

Front row: Renee Cooper, Blueprints parent; Darlene Bigler, CEO of Blueprints; Joan Benso, president and CEO of PPC; and Dr. Robert Cicco, PPC board member, neonatologist and president of the Allegheny County Medical Society.

Childhood Begins at Home officially launches at an event at the Lancaster Women and Babies Hospital.

Back row:  State Representative Steven Mentzer; State Representative Brett Miller; State Representative Bryan Cutler; State Representative Mike Sturla; State Representative Keith Greiner; and Lancaster District Attorney Craig Stedman.

Front row: Joan Benso, president and CEO of Pennsylvania Partnerships for Children; Shyanne Troop of Ephrata and her daughter; Mary Lee Steffy, manager of community health and wellness at Nurse-Family Partnership; and Theresa Whitesel, RN supervisor of Nurse-Family Partnership.

Family support advocates, including Chester County Maternal and Child Health Consortium (MCHC) executive director Milena Lanz and Bruce Clash, Pennsylvania State Director of Fight Crime: Invest in Kids at a Childhood Begins at Home campaign event at MCHC in West Chester.

Child advocates, including Delaware County Medical Society executive director David McKeighan, Pennsylvania Partnerships for Children president and CEO Joan Benso and Maternity Care Coalition senior director of policy Rosemarie Halt at a Childhood Begins at Home campaign event at the Maternity Care Coalition in Upper Darby.