Marina Bernheimer: Child Advocates of Nevada County promotes a healthy community | TheUnion.com

Marina Bernheimer: Child Advocates of Nevada County promotes a healthy community

At Child Advocates of Nevada County, we believe that the best way to cultivate a healthy community is to ensure that local children and families have the tools, support, and resources they need to be healthy and strong.

We accomplish this by implementing three programs countywide: Court Appointed Special Advocates (CASA); Foothills and Truckee Healthy Babies; and Child Safety Puppeteers. The Foothills and Truckee Healthy Babies Program is Child Advocates' largest program and provides critical early support to local families who are pregnant or parenting a newborn infant.

Child Advocates of Nevada County partners with Nevada County's First Five Commission and the California Home Visiting Program to implement the Foothills and Truckee Healthy Babies program.

The Healthy Babies program pairs new and expectant parents with home visitors who provide parenting information, resources, and support during pregnancy and throughout the child's first five years. A child's first years are critical for building a foundation for success in school and in life. In fact, the first 1,000 days are considered the most crucial stage of child development. Early social/emotional development and physical health provide the foundation upon which cognitive and language skills develop. High quality early intervention services like those offered by home visitors through the Healthy Babies program can change a child's developmental trajectory and improve outcomes for children, families, and communities.

The Foothills and Truckee Healthy Babies program is uniquely positioned to have an impact on the well-being of infants and children for future generations.

Healthy Babies home visitors are extensively trained using the Healthy Families America model, an evidence-based curriculum rooted in the belief that early, nurturing relationships are the foundation for life-long, healthy development. Home visitors help parents find healthy solutions to stressful circumstances by ensuring they have knowledge of community resources, and skills to keep their children safe, healthy, and ready to learn. The Healthy Babies program helps with the early identification of developmental delays, and supports positive parenting practices.

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Interactions between home visitors and families are relationship-based, designed to promote positive parent-child relationships and healthy attachment, strength-based, family centered, culturally sensitive and reflective. Healthy Babies staff conducts at least one home visit per week for the first six months after the child's birth. After those initial months, visit frequency is based on families' needs and progress over time. Typically, home visits last one hour.

The Healthy Babies program goals are to: reduce child maltreatment; improve parent-child interactions and children's social-emotional well-being; increase school readiness; promote child physical health and development; promote positive parenting; promote family self-sufficiency; increase access to primary care medical services and community services; and decrease child injuries and emergency department use.

The Foothills and Truckee Healthy Babies program is uniquely positioned to have an impact on the well-being of infants and children for future generations. By giving young children a solid start in their first five years, there is greater opportunity for a brighter, healthier future for our entire community.

Child Advocates is proud to be a part of the solution for raising happy, healthy children who contribute to a healthy community.

Marina Bernheimer is the executive director of Child Advocates of Nevada County.

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