Navigating the finer points of how poverty or exposure to familial instability can impact developing minds requires a commitment to longitudinal study coupled with an understanding of the multidimensional scales that contribute to the overall wellbeing of those being studied. Luckily, we have an entity in our community who has been positioning themselves to do just that since 1963.
ChildStrive believes that by helping families navigate early childhood, a very critical time in the developing minds of our children, not only contributes to the overall good of individuals, but those efforts are amplified and distributed to the community later on. “It’s a trajectory inside the community, and a social wealth investment,” explains Jim Welsh, the executive director.
Their philosophy that engaging early gives back exponentially means going the extra mile to bring help directly to families in their homes. While they do already have two brick-and-mortar locations, the majority of their services take place in the homes of the families they serve.
Within their ‘Early Intervention’ program, trained staff (which can consist of special educators, or speech/occupational/physical therapists) visit homes of kids who are at risk for, or have been diagnosed with, a developmental delay or diagnosed disability and serve children from birth-to-three.
The ‘Nurse-Family Partnership’ was developed to pair nurses with first-time mothers who are early in pregnancy in order to facilitate “healthy choices and develop strong parenting skills.” Young parents who have never had children may need more support, education or guidance than those who have been around the block once before.
‘Parents as Teachers’ tackles the unique difficulties surrounding families juggling both small children as well as recurrent poverty or housing instability.
Lastly, ‘Community Outreach’ means supporting some of the hardest-hit and marginalized families in the area: “partnering with childcare centers, homeless shelters, and community programs to support families who are at-risk due to economic hardship or other life trauma,” to promote healthy development and early learning.
And of course, supporting healthy play! A childhood without play is one that may not potentially reap all the benefits of emotional and social development later on.
Not everybody who goes to ChildStrive may meet the criteria required in order to qualify for services, but you’ll never be flatly turned away. Because they’ve been in operation since 1963, they’ve had several decades to cultivate a referral network for other agencies who may be better suited to offer help. The services age out at the age of five.
They also stress that getting care is a very low-barrier, making them exceptionally available to all groups inside of the community. They also provide in-house screening, if you haven’t obtained a diagnosis from a specialist yet. It’s their belief that money shouldn’t be what keeps you/your family from receiving quality care and support.
To learn more about them, check out ChildStrive.org or call 425-353-5656.