County Executive Rich Fitzgerald, Health Department Director Dr. Karen Hacker and Human Services Director Marc Cherna today announced the launch of “Open Doors to Home Visiting,” a coordinated campaign to encourage families to enroll in one of the many free, voluntary home visiting programs offered in the county. The campaign encourages families, caregivers and the medical community to learn more about the county’s programs.
“We want to give children and families across the county the best start in life, and that includes the home visiting programs available to parents, from pregnancy until their children are six,” said Fitzgerald. “There are many proven benefits of home visiting services, and this campaign is intended to raise awareness of the programs, and to encourage families to enroll in one that’s right for their family.”
Home visiting programs offer parents and caregivers support and encouragement, providing them with the necessary tools and skills to raise healthy children. Additionally, the programs facilitate opportunities, school readiness and supports for children and their families.
“There are a number of positive outcomes from home visiting programs, including an increased use of prenatal care, increased pregnancy duration and birth weight, increased use of healthcare and community resources, improved maternal and family nutrition, and improved growth and developmental outcomes,” said Hacker. “Parenting is a tough job. Home visiting programs are here to provide support.”
There are currently 36 home visiting programs in the county, 26 of which are offered through the county’s network of family support centers. The Allegheny Link to Home Visiting Services, a collaboration between the Health Department and Human Services, is a central referral line for parents, physicians and caregivers to call who are interested in learning more about home visiting.
“The Allegheny Link to Home Visiting is designed to help parents and caregivers who are looking for extra assistance or guidance through the parenting process. The Allegheny Link is staffed with experienced coordinators who can help families identify which programs are right for them,” said Cherna. “We hope this campaign will encourage the community to open doors to the opportunities, resources and supports that these programs provide, making their lives better.”
The Allegheny Link is available weekdays from 8 a.m. to 7 p.m. by calling 1-866-730-2368. Parents and caregivers who are interested in learning more about home visiting programs can call Allegheny Link, speak to their pediatrician, or visit alleghenylink.org.