To the Editor:
First, I would like to enthusiastically thank Lincoln County Sheriff Todd Brackett and Bath Police Chief Mike Field for their ongoing, outspoken support and advocacy for children and families. Their awareness and perspective as they speak from their professional and volunteer standpoints do so much to increase awareness of the impact early intervention can have in our communities and our futures.
I would only add that Maine Families’ services are offered, for several reasons, to all parents and expectant parents in our state, regardless of age, income, involvement with DHHS or any other factors.
Pregnant moms may be adjusting to health, emotional and logistical dilemmas. Although a new baby brings joy, having a new child can introduce major stress comparable to that of life events such as relocation and divorce. Parents may be physically isolated from, or even overwhelmed by, extended family.
They may feel financial strain resulting from added infant necessities, medical bills, unpaid maternity leave, or unforeseen transportation expenses. Working parents are faced with new challenges as they juggle their schedules to accommodate for child care or reduce child care expenses.
Post-partum depression often goes unrecognized or is mistakenly labeled as “baby blues” until it becomes a handicap for the mother and her essential connection with her baby during that important first year. Sibling behavior may change in perplexing ways. Maintaining relationships can be more of a challenge.
Maine Families’ Parents as Teachers curriculum recognizes that parents are ultimately the experts on their own children. A Maine Families Parent Educator provides support and tools parents may use to make timely, effective and informed parenting decisions.
They offer research-based, up-to-date information on child development; assistance with issues such as feeding and nutrition, soothing and sleep; activities for parents to do with their child to take advantage of optimal learning “windows;” and regular developmental screenings and safety checklists.
Services take place in the home, are free and voluntary, and the parent determines the number of visits they desire each month. For more information, contact the Knox/Lincoln/Sagadahoc Maine Families and Teen & Young Parent Program at 594-1980, or visit their website at http://www.mainefamilies.org.