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 Montour and Columbia Counties,  joining leaders for an event at the Danville Childhood Development Center.

Those in attendance were: Angela Mattis, Montour County District Attorney; Ashley Mensch, director, Columbia County Family Center; Allison Shay, parent educator, Parents as Teachers; a mother benefiting from voluntary home visits and Kari King, president and CEO, Pennsylvania Partnerships for Children.

Childhood Begins at Home held an event in March to highlight the need for more evidence-based home visiting in Montgomery County.

Those who participated included:

  • Nadine Miller, deputy administrator, Resource Division, Office of Children and Youth, Montgomery County Department of Health and Human Services;
  • Kevin Steele, Montgomery County District Attorney;
  • Rosemarie Halt, senior director of policy, Maternity Care Coalition;
  • A mother benefiting from voluntary home visits; and
  • Kari King, president and CEO, Pennsylvania Partnerships for Children.

Family support advocates joined together at the Kingsley Center to discuss the need for evidence-based home visiting in Allegheny County.

The event included:

  • Marc Cherna, director of the Allegheny County Department of Human Services;
  • Dr. Karen Hacker, director of the Allegheny County Health Department;
  • Cara Ciminillo, executive director of Trying Together;
  • Local families benefiting from voluntary home visits; and
  • Kari King, president and CEO of Pennsylvania Partnerships for Children.

Lycoming County First Assistant District Attorney Martin Wade, joined with the Nurse-Family Partnership and other statewide and regional partners for a press conference at UPMC Susquehanna in Williamsport, to discuss evidence-based home visiting and the Childhood Begins at Home campaign’s efforts to ensure more state funding for the programs in Lycoming County.