Acenda Cares for Mothers and Babies

Melissa Fox, MHA, FACMPE,  FACHE

Maternal Health Support Programs to Support Mothers and Babies

Maternal health affects more than just mothers. Infants and young children do best when their mothers can care for their well-being. Some families face isolation, financial issues, and mental health needs. Addiction can also put families and small children at risk.

Our goal at Acenda is to support mothers, so that they enjoy the beautiful journey of motherhood,” says Dr. Monica Lallo, Senior Vice President, Prevention, Youth, and Education Services. “A strong partnership is an integral component in navigating pregnancy and motherhood. Acenda is to ensure a safe and healthy birth for all of our expectant mothers and their families.”

The maternal health programs at Acenda are here to help. Eligible young families can get the support and guidance they need at no cost. With personal attention and valuable information, families can help ensure they remain safe and healthy. Here’s more about four vital programs at Acenda that promote better health for mothers and babies.

Healthy Families

Families with young children need guidance and emotional support. They learn from and lean on people in their social circle. Some families face extra challenges and may not have the necessary support within their extended family or social network. Supportive services like the Healthy Families program can help fill this gap through the early years of parenthood.

What is Healthy Families?

The Healthy Families program is designed for postpartum mothers and young children. An expecting mother can join during pregnancy. It’s also open to children who haven’t started kindergarten. Advocates bond with families in the program. This caring relationship is a model for parents as their children grow. Services are free of charge to families in Cumberland, Gloucester, and Salem counties.

Here are some of the key benefits of the Healthy Families program:

  • Advocates teach parents about positive parenting. Home visits allow parents to use and improve their skills in real time.
  • Parents learn about healthy growth and child development. Advocates help parents put this information to use each day.
  • Advocates connect parents with local resources. They learn a family’s needs and find health, education, and social services that fit.
  • Advocates may also talk about other life goals like jobs and health needs. Any plan that could improve the family’s welfare is open for discussion.
Parents as Teachers

Home visitation programs help families through the challenges of raising young children. Research shows that families in these programs become stronger and healthier. Advocates give parents both support and education. They become a reliable source as children grow and develop. In the end, the advocates in the program make a real difference. Families get the help they need rather than falling through the cracks.

What is Parents as Teachers?

Our Parents as Teachers program (PAT) serves parents in Gloucester and Salem counties. Advocates visit each family 2-4 times a month in their home. Families can enter the program between a child’s birth and entry to kindergarten. Most families stay in the program for up to three years.

Here’s more about what to expect from the Parents as Teachers:

  • Advocates promote positive parenting skills. They educate and support parents as they apply what they learn.
  • Research shows that the program helps with school readiness. It also positively affects child development.
  • Parents learn about many areas of good family health. Topics include prenatal health, infant health, child safety, and early child development.
  • The positive impact on a family continues after they complete the program.
Nurse-Family Partnership

Being a first-time mother is a challenge in the best of situations. Barriers like poverty and social isolation can put young mothers and their babies at risk. Home visits from a caring nurse can make a world of difference for these families. Mothers and nurses work together to keep children safe and healthy. With the Nurse-Family Partnership, mothers can create a better future for themselves and their babies.

What is NFP?

The Nurse-Family Partnership (NFP) offers in-home education for first-time mothers. Expectant mothers at 28 weeks of pregnancy or more can join the program. Mothers are matched with a registered nurse for ongoing support. For most families, the program gives support for up to three years. Services are open for families in Atlantic, Cape May, Cumberland, Gloucester, and Salem counties.

Here’s more about how the Nurse-Family Partnership can help families:

  • Nurses provide guidance and support for maternal health.
  • Nurses also teach mothers about infant and child health.
  • Mothers are connected with local resources. These may be support for food, employment, child care, and health needs.
  • Families can stay in the program up to the child’s second birthday.
A Place to Call Home

Mothers struggling with addiction often need extra support, and if they’re expecting or have small children, getting help can be a challenge. Transitional living may be a solution. This option provides treatment in a home-like setting. Mothers can be independent while getting support from the program.

Some sober house programs offer more than just addiction treatment. They also provide mental health counseling and teach parenting skills. Mothers learn how to manage their addiction needs as they care for their children. This stage of recovery is vital for mothers as they step back into family life.

What is A Place to Call Home?

A Place to Call Home (APTCH) is a transitional living program. It’s a sober living option for mothers who are expecting or caring for their children. The treatment program is focused on the early stage of addiction recovery. Mothers can live with their children as they work through the program.

Here’s more about what the A Place to Call Home program offers:

  • Up to ten women and their children can stay at any given time. This keeps the group small with a family atmosphere.
  • The program is designed for a 3-6 month stay.
  • The sober living home provides a safe, supportive environment for people in recovery. It promotes a healthy lifestyle without substance use.
  • The program offers access to additional services, including:
    • Parenting support
    • Help with employment
    • Referrals to counseling for mental health and recovery supports
    • Connection to community resources

Maternal health matters – Family programs at Acenda Healthcare

Many young families face challenges that put them at risk, but the maternal health programs at Acenda can act as a safety net or support system. Nurses and maternal health advocates make a difference every day. By making a personal connection, they improve these young families’ lives. To learn more about these programs, contact us at 1-856-431-4180.

Read more population health articles on the AIHI Blog