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Meet Parent Wonders!

Meet Parent Wonders!

As part of our focus on children and the Tree of Hope Campaign, we are highlighting another one of our Family Development programs this week—Parent Wonders.

Parent Wonders is a home visiting program funded by the Illinois State Board of Education (ISBE) Prevention Initiative (PI) grant. This funding provides support for families with young children, prenatal through three years of age and their goal is to foster positive caregiver-child relationships to enhance child development. The program helps navigate a variety of topics and issues including pregnancy; baby and toddler growth and development; developmentally-appropriate activities; effective parenting techniques; practical parenting tips; healthy relationships; and connection to community resources.

Parent Wonders serves children and families most in need in Champaign County. Program eligibility criteria is based on priority and need, with the highest priority indicators including children experiencing homelessness, children involved in the child welfare system, children with developmental delays, and children from families in deep poverty (income below 50% of the Federal Poverty Level). In addition, Parent Wonders prioritizes children and families with multiple risk factors that include teen parents, parents without high school completion, families with immigrant/refugee status, parents/caregivers for whom the primary language is not English, and children with developmental delays who have not been referred to Early Intervention.

During COVID home visits have been mostly virtual. The virtual visits offer training and supportive conversations. The Parent Wonders team may support families with prenatal care information, providing resources to aid in finding affordable and reliable childcare opportunities or, helpful tips to deal with parenting stress. The Parent Wonders team has also been dropping off diapers, books, art supplies, and activity bags.

Recently, Parent Wonders hosted a couple of support group events for families. In November, participating families discussed nutritional cooking and received a Crock-pot and recipe book. December’s event focused on themes of self-care and healthy sleep. Attending families received a sound machine to aid in healthy sleep habits. These support groups were well attended and Parent Wonders looks forward to offering more in the future.

Soon, the Parent Wonders team hopes to offer a virtual parent support group focusing on COVID. Participants can express concerns and stresses that arise due to the continuation of the pandemic.

If you are interested in learning more about our Parent Wonders program contact Nicole Smith, Family Development Director at (217) 356-9176, or nsmith@dsc-illinois.org.