Denise Kaspar, Better Indy Babies & Healthy Families’ Program Director, wrote the following blog. This is part two, because as you can imagine, there is a lot to write about when you start talking about history, obstacles, and triumphs in running a successful program like BIBs/HF. To read part one, click here. In this secondhalf, Denise explains the growing pains of Better Indy Babies, taking on the extension of Healthy Families, and the importance of both of these programs to Indianapolis mothers, children, and families.
For several years we beat the streets in the inner city surrounding our health centers, reaching out to pregnant women and their families and going into neighborhoods that others would not want to be caught dead in. Every day over the years we have helped thousands and thousands of families.
We have helped make healthier babies and healthier families.
During these long years, there were many families that we would visit that really needed more intensive services that we were not able to provide, particularly those families with unwanted pregnancies that were having difficulty bonding with their babies and families that were hurting in many ways. We called other agencies to try to get intensive services for families to improve family functioning and were told that they only accepted referrals from Child Protective Services.
Basically, a child had to be hurt or neglected in order to receive help and many families were hungry for this help – to parent differently than they were parented.
Then, there was an answer to our prayers.
Healthy Families America came to Indiana!
We were the only agency in our fine city that wanted to prevent child abuse and neglect as a primary focus. We applied and received $45,000 to start, and over the next several years, we received additional funding. Although the joy of growing this program was not as intense as BIBs, that endured months and months of serious growing pains, it was and still is very exciting.
I believe that there is no job more important than BIBs and Healthy Families. This is because it all starts with the bond during the pregnancy and after the birth between the parent and their child, born or unborn. This bond has far-reaching implications for determining a child’s success in school, preventing teen pregnancy, reducing juvenile delinquency, and a number of other childhood outcomes that can predict success as an adult.
A supervisor once told me that she found it difficult to describe what our programs did, and I said -
“That’s easy; we save lives” maybe not in the sense of actual life and death but quality of life.
We are a village, HealthNet, Better Indy Babies and Healthy Families. We ask you to join us in our cause of helping to make sure that babies are born healthy and that children are raised in safe and nurturing environments.
To learn more about he BIBs/HF Takeover, click here.
Or you can join in on our week-long baby shower to benefit Better Indy Babies & Healthy Families participants!