New program helps families have a healthy start with their kids

Posted at 3:02 PM, Sep 07, 2021
and last updated 2021-09-07 17:02:54-04

A new program aims to help families in Malheur and Baker counties to have a healthy start with their children through home visits.

Immigrant and Refugee Community Organization and Healthy Families Oregon have launched a free and voluntary program that serves families with children from birth to five years old. The program provides the families with activities and resources for parents to create healthy relationships with their children.

The program also helps families recognize risk factors of child abuse.

“Some risk factors would be postpartum depression, sometimes it's substance abused, single-parent households, multiple children," said Shannon Armstrong, program manager of IRCO, Health Families Eastern Oregon. "There’s a lot of things at risk factors and although these things don’t mean that there’s potential abuse, but these are risk factors that we see.”

The organization says they can serve up to 30 families and those that decide to be in the program will have a family support specialist that will help them to connect with other community resources.

"The goal is to have it all parent-led and parent-driven, we are just there to observe, watch and guide," said Armstrong. "We would look at the dance between that activity and the parent."

Armstrong says Malheur County used to have a similar program in place before it was canceled in 2019. Thanks to a funding opportunity, Healthy Families Oregon can offer it again now.