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V.I.T.A.L Information for Young Parents

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Pregnancy and parenting tips for young parents and parents to be!

Expecting a new baby is both exciting and scary at the same time.  Every young parent and mother wonders what it is like to give birth, become a parent, and care for a baby 24 hours a day.  Fears and apprehensions may sound like this:  "Will I be able to cope?  How will I balance taking care of the baby and my education?  Will I be the kind of parent that I want to be?   How do I manage this and my mental health?

Being a young mom or dad can be a wonderful experience and rest assured that you are strong and capable!  Don't listen to all the negative stuff that's said about young parents - you can be just as good a parent as an older one. Educating yourself on when to ask for help and where to go to get some assistance is very important. 

Every parent can use a little help. The Office of Early Childhood for the State of Connecticut can help to point you in the right direction and answer your questions.  Are you pregnant and you are not sure what to do or where to begin?  Are you trying to get ready for your baby that is soon to arrive?  Are you trying to figure out how to manage a crying baby?  This site can help you learn about so many topics and help you gain the confidence needed to be a great parent!

Another great place to start is with your DCF Social Worker - each regional office has some supports in place to help you out, beginning with pregnancy.  Speak up and ask for help!  Don't feel like you need to face these challenges alone!

In addition to your DCF worker, each community has a network of support services for new parents.  Here are a few of the community programs that are available in many locations throughout Connecticut (the links include the locations of the programs):

  • Birth Support Education and Beyond (BSEB), LLC: A COMPREHENSIVE PERINATAL SUPPORT PROGRAM- Labor, Birth & Postpartum Doulas, Childbirth & Parent Educators, Lactation Consultants, Perinatal Mood and Anxiety Disorder Specialists, Infant Mental Health Endorsed.  BSEB is a dedicated team of Perinatal Support Specialists that provide strength-based, client-centered compassionate, nurturing and informative care throughout pregnancy, birth, postpartum and parenting into the early preschool years.  They are experts in working with Youth & Young Adults with significant trauma histories, mental health diagnoses and vulnerable populations.  They offer personalized support, as you define your own level of need.  (Primarily serving Lew London Area but also statewide services.)  860-867-7541
  • Home Visiting Programs: improve the health of young children by providing support and services for them and their families — right in their own homes. These programs reach pregnant women, expectant fathers, and parents and caregivers of children under the age of 5.
    Connecticut offers 6 different types of home visiting programs that are evidence-based. Each type of program is designed to meet the unique needs of many families with young children.
  • Parents as Teachers (PAT):  Parents as Teachers helps families learn about child development, health and safety, and getting their child ready to start school. Parents as Teachers weekly home visits can start any time before the child starts kindergarten, including during a parent’s pregnancy. The list of locations covers most of the state of Connecticut.  Check the website for a location near you:  Parents as Teachers
  • Parenting Support Services:  Parenting Support Services (PSS) is a service for families with children 0-18 years-of-age to support and enhance positive family functioning. Families receive one or more of the PSS interventions along with case management services using the Wraparound philosophy and process. PSS offers the evidenced-based model, Level 4 Triple P (Positive Parenting Program®) and the Circle of Security Parenting© intervention. Triple P helps parents become resourceful problem solvers and be able to create a positive and safe home learning environment for children to develop emotional, behavioral, and cognitive strengths. Circle of Security Parenting (COS) is designed to build, support, and strengthen parents’ relationship capabilities so they are better equipped to provide a quality of relationship that is more supportive of secure attachment.  If needed, families may receive more than one PSS intervention.  Be sure to check out the list of PSS providers to find one near you!   
  • Young Parents Program:  YPP supports young parents and pregnant teens.  The program helps provide prenatal and parenting education and supports young parents to further their educational and vocational goals.  YPP offers programs in many locations throughout Connecticut including: Bridgeport, Columbia, Griswold, New Britain, New Haven, Meriden/Wallingford, Middletown, Milford, New London, Norwich, Stamford, Waterbury, Wauregan and Windham (Check it out!)

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FATHERHOOD Specific Programs

Education Engagement Support Pathways to Responsible Fatherhood

10 Facts about Father Engagement (The Fatherhood Project)

  1. Fathers and infants can be equally as attached as mothers and infants. When both parents are involved with the child, infants are attached to both parents from the beginning of life.
  2. Father involvement is related to positive child health outcomes in infants, such as improved weight gain in preterm infants and improved breastfeeding rates.
  3. Father involvement using authoritative parenting (loving and with clear boundaries and expectations) leads to better emotional, academic, social, and behavioral outcomes for children.
  4. Children who feel a closeness to their father are: twice as likely as those who do not to enter college or find stable employment after high school, 75% less likely to have a teen birth, 80% less likely to spend time in jail, and half as likely to experience multiple depression symptoms.
  5. Fathers occupy a critical role in child development. Father absence hinders development from early infancy throughout childhood and into adulthood. The psychological harm of father absence experienced during childhood persists throughout the life course.
  6. The quality of the father-child relationship matters more than the specific amount of hours spent together. Non-resident fathers can have positive effects on children’s social and emotional well-being, as well as academic achievement and behavioral adjustment.
  7. High levels of father involvement are correlated with higher levels of sociability, confidence, and self control in children. Children with involved fathers are less likely to act out in school or engage in risky behaviors in adolescence.
  8. Children with actively involved fathers are: 43% more likely to earn A’s in school and 33% less likely to repeat a grade than those without engaged dads.
  9. Father engagement reduces the frequency of behavioral problems in boys while also decreasing delinquency and economic disadvantage in low-income families.
  10. Father engagement reduces psychological problems and rates of depression in young women.

 

Fatherhood Education

Act for Youth:
This weblink provides a wealth of educational resources on the benefits of being an active father and how to develop parenting and life skills as a young father.

 

Fatherhood Support Programs

New Opportunities
232 North Elm Street, Waterbury, CT, 203-575-4210
The Fatherhood Initiative is designed to engage 110 fathers ages 17+ in services designed to increase the father's involvement with his children.  
Eligibility:  Resident of Greater Waterbury area; Fathers ages 17+
Hours:  M-F: 8am-5pm


 
Pathways to Responsible Fatherhood Initiative

CATHOLIC CHARITIES - ARCHDIOCESE OF HARTFORD, SOUTHSIDE FAMILY CENTER
35 Groton Street #1, Hartford, CT, 860-297-7800
Fatherhood program offers parenting, education, supports and other services to men who are fathers, expectant fathers or primary caregivers...
Eligibility:  Males who are fathers, expectant fathers or primary caregivers
Hours:  M-F: 9am-5pm; Evenings by appointment

CATHOLIC CHARITIES - ARCHDIOCESE OF HARTFORD,  ASYLUM HILL FAMILY CENTER
896 Asylum Avenue, Hartford, CT, 860-244-9944
Fatherhood program offers parenting, education, supports and other services to men who are fathers, expectant fathers or primary caregivers...
Eligibility:  Males who are fathers, expectant fathers or primary caregivers
Hours:  M-F: 10am-8pm

CATHOLIC CHARITIES - ARCHDIOCESE OF HARTFORD,  FAMILY CENTER AT PARKER MEMORIAL COMMUNITY CENTER
2621 Main Street, Hartford, CT,  860-757-0827 
Fatherhood program offers parenting, education, supports and other services to men who are fathers, expectant fathers or primary caregivers.
Eligibility:  Males who are fathers, expectant fathers or primary caregivers
Hours:  M-F: 10am-3pm (ages 21+), 3-6pm (ages 8-15), 6-9pm


 
Fatherhood Engagement Services

Career Resources, Inc.
350 Fairfield Avenue, Bridgeport, CT, 203-610-8678
Father for Life provides life skills, parenting skills, advocacy and support for all interested parents. Services are offered in the greater Bridgeport area...
Eligibility: Fathers and parents who want to improve their relationship with their children
Hours:  M-F: 8:30am-4:30pm

John S. Martinez Fatherhood Initiative of Connecticut
55 Farmington Avenue, Hartford, CT, 866-628-3237
Department of Social Services collaborates with a wide range of partners to assist communities and agencies in identifying and addressing the needs of fathers and families.
Eligibility:  General public requesting information on Fatherhood programs and related resources available and agencies wanting to be.
Hours: M-F: 8am-4:30pm

Madonna Place
240 Main Street, Norwich, CT, 860-886-6600 
The Program Fatherhood Initiative provides information and support to non-custodial and custodial fathers regarding parenting, healthy relationships, child and family development, family health, financial stability and personal growth and goals...
Eligibility:  Custodial and non-custodial fathers
Hours:  M-F: 9am-4:30pm

The Village - The Village South
331 Wethersfield Avenue, Hartford, CT, 860-236-4511 
Intensive program for fathers involved with an open DCF case. The program provides outreach, case management and parenting education and strives to enhance the positive level of involvement of fathers in their children’s lives and teach fathers the skills.
Eligibility: Fathers in DCF Region 4 (Hartford and Manchester areas) involved in an open DCF case

The Village - Manchester
300 Parker Street, Manchester, CT, 860-236-4511 
Intensive program for fathers involved with an open DCF case. The program provides outreach, case management and parenting education and strives to enhance the positive level of involvement of fathers in their children’s lives and teach fathers the skills.
Eligibility:  Fathers in DCF Region 4 (Hartford and Manchester areas) involved in an open DCF case



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Additional Parenting Programs (By Region)

Here are some additional programs by Region:

Region 1 Region 2 Region 3  Region 4  Region 5 Region 6
 

 

Region 1 (Bridgeport, Norwalk)
  • Family and Children's Agency (Norwalk):  Child & Family Development services gives support and guidance to families and their young children. This program focuses on the critical early years of a child’s life, birth to age 5, to support strong foundations for future success. All programs are offered free of charge in English and Spanish to families in the Greater Norwalk area and are on a voluntary basis. Services are primarily home-based and include the following: Parent's as Teachers, Maternal Outreach Mentoring Services (MOMS) and The Fatherhood Initiative.  
  • Teen Fathers Mentoring - GBAPP (Bridgeport and includes the surrounding communities) GBAPP offers an accredited Teen Fathers Mentoring program.  They help young men become confident, nurturing parents and realize the full potential of a relationship with their children.
  • The Child Guidance Clinic (Bridgeport):  This program offers free, in-home parenting support for new parents. Their programs can help ease your mind throughout your pregnancy, and from your child's birth to 5 years old. They offer phone support, parenting groups, and intensive in-home support so that your first parenting experience is positive and enjoyable.  Locations are available in Bridgeport, Norwalk and Stratford.
 

 

Region 2 (Milford, New Haven)
  • Childbirth and Parenting Education of Greater New Haven (East Haven):  This program provides classes in childbirth preparation, breastfeeding, infant CPR, parenting, cloth diapering and car seat safety for families in the Greater New Haven area.  Pregnant women, their partners and families are welcome to register.
  • 'R Kids Family Center (New Haven): "R Kids Family Center offers parenting education and support for both Fathers and Mothers. 
 

 

Region 3 (Middletown, Norwich, Willimantic)
  • Community Health and Wellness - Family Wellness Center (Middletown):  The Family Wellness Center provides parenting education, parent/child activity groups, story times, youth development programs, playgroups for infants, toddlers and preschoolers, and movement programs.  Special programs for parents and their children include Infant Massage and afternoon playgroups!  The Wellness Center offers: Playgroups, Support Groups, Parenting Classes, and Children's Activities.
  • Madonna Place - Family Support Center (Norwich):  The Family Support Center offers family support services that include informal counseling for parents, parenting education, play groups, anger management, basic needs and emergency assistance, educational workshops, and many other events and activities!  Madonna Place also offers Fatherhood support services.
  • Middlesex Health - Family Advocacy Program (Middletown):  The Family Advocacy Program offers and array of services to all pregnant mom's and new parents.  They offer a Nurturing Prenatal group three times each year that teaches self-care, infant safety and nurturing parenting.  The program runs for 10 weeks, meeting weekly for ten weeks, and is free of charge (call 860-358-6427 to inquire).  There is also a Perinatal Program:  The Perinatal Support Programs provide free counseling to pregnant and postpartum women, so that they can connect to community resources. This includes helping women find an obstetrician, or a doctor who specializes in pregnancy, childbirth, and reproductive health.


 

Region 4 (Hartford, Manchester)
  • Community Renewal Team - Real Fathers, Real Men (Hartford):  Real Fathers, Real Men is a support group for men who want to become better fathers. Certified by the CT Department of Social Services, Real Fathers, Real Men teaches fathers what it means to be a good father, partner and husband. This all male support group works towards meeting their family responsibilities, obtaining meaningful work, repaying child support and bonding with family members. CRT provides help with job searches and job leads, and participants have access to CRT's full range of programs and services.
  • Family Life Education - Louise Earle Loomis Children's Wellness Center (Hartford):  The Wellness Center implements a spectrum of wellness strategies while incorporating early learning opportunities and hands-on education/practice for parents. Some of the activities offered include:  An early learning program for infants/toddlers that incorporates the latest brain research and supports children’s cognitive development; Educating parents about the importance of talking to their infants/toddlers, and in utero, to stimulate language development; Training parents how to monitor their children’s progress; Educating parents about practices at home that will support their children’s learning and development; and many other programs. 
  • Hispanic Health Council - Positive Parenting Program (Hartford):  Positive Parenting Program (PPP) is designed to enhance parental competence and prevent child maltreatment. The program increases the power and self-sufficiency of parents in raising their children; the development of non-violent, protective environment for children and reduce the incidence of child abuse, and behavioral problems.  Triple P aims to prevent child maltreatment, behavioral and emotional problems by enhancing the knowledge, skills, and confidence of parents in raising their children.  Families with children between the ages of 0 to 8 years old are eligible. 
  • Village for Children and Families - Stronger Families, Stronger Futures (Hartford):  Stronger Families, Stronger Futures (SF²) provides home visiting services that will help parents and caregivers of children prenatal to age five strengthen their bonds with their children and increase parenting skills through an increased understanding of child development. We also include our innovative Words Count model to improve early childhood literacy in the home and provide group-based and telephone support.



 

Region 5 (Danbury, Torrington, Waterbury)
  • Carolyn's Place - Earn While you Learn Program (Waterbury):  The Earn While You Learn (EWYL) Program provides moms and/or dads to be with an opportunity to learn critical basic child birth preparation and parenting skills, while earning personal needs items for their baby.
  • Danbury Regional Child Advocacy Center/Family & Children's Aid - Parent Net (Danbury):  Parent Net provides parenting education, support and skill development through an eight-week curriculum developed by the University of Connecticut. Evening and weekend classes with childcare are conducted in English, Spanish and Portuguese for all parents of children from birth to 18 years.
  • McCall Center for Behavioral Health - Parenting Support Services (Torrington):  PSS is an in-home, evidence-based program that strengthens parents’/caregivers’ independence, resourcefulness and problem-solving skills, participants learn how to create positive and safe home environments that support their child's emotional, behavioral and cognitive strengths.

 

 

Region 6 (Meriden, New Britain)
  • Community Health and Wellness - Family Wellness Center (New Britain):  The Family Wellness Center provides parenting education, parent/child activity groups, story times, youth development programs, playgroups for infants, toddlers and preschoolers, and movement programs.  Special programs for parents and their children include Infant Massage and afternoon playgroups!  The Wellness Center offers: Playgroups, Support Groups, Parenting Classes, and Children's Activities.