To the Editor:
I encourage all to celebrate and support healthy parenting support services in our region. This week (Oct. 20-24) is celebrated as Home Visiting Week in Maine by proclamation from Maine’s Governor.
I serve on the Success By 6 Council at United Way of Mid Coast Maine, and one of our goals that arose from forums with people throughout this region is for “The community to support healthy parenting skills.”
We are fortunate in this community to have help for parents during the challenging early years when a child is rapidly changing and developing. In our region, we have wonderful services and activities offered by Healthy Kids. We have home visits as part of our Head Start services and we have home visits addressing primarily medical issues provided by Public Health Nurses.
Each of these services provides parents and other caregivers with information, support, and access to other community resources they may need.
We know from recent research that the human brain grows most rapidly during the first years of life, when a child’s early experiences literally shape a child’s brain structure. The neurons in the brain that control emotions, language development, and other critical skills are connected during these early years, and can be damaged by negative experiences. These early experiences with parents, siblings, other caregivers and relatives build the foundation for a child to succeed in school and in life.
We also know that parenting a young child can be very challenging and sometimes very lonely. A home visitor can talk with a parent or parents about their goals for the child, about specific concerns they have about their newborn, and about what it takes to strengthen the child’s bond with the parents that provide the basis for all future relationships.
I encourage all to celebrate Home Visiting Week, to support the important home visiting services in our community, and to show your support for parents and caregivers who are taking care of young children. These children are a precious resource and the foundation for our economic development in the future.
To the Editor: