Family Services Initiative
In response to the needs of parents and children in Maricopa County, MIHS has launched the Family Services Initiative to (1) build a Family Learning Center and (2) implement a Pediatric Clinic Family Educator Program, based on Healthy Steps and Bright Futures. After an initial community fundraising phase, MIHS will support operations in 2008. The Family Learning Center, as well as all patient care tools and residency curricula developed through the Initiative, will be freely available to other community agencies, residency programs, and health systems. The Initiative builds MIHS’ capacity to help all health systems integrate the emerging science of early brain development in patient care and fulfill its obligation, as the Maricopa Special Health Care District, to be responsive to the needs of low-income children and families.
The first years of a child’s life sets a foundation for lifelong success. Family, social and economic environments, learning opportunities, and health status merge as powerful influences on a child’s health. Health care has an important, yet unmet, role in promoting optimal health and development. While most children have access to 12 health check-ups before kindergarten, parents feel most visits fall short in giving them the information they are seeking. Pediatric services struggle to keep up with the growing needs of families, emerging research, changes in referral systems to specialty care, and shifts in health policies. Families with economic, literacy, technology or language barriers face addition constraints in seeking health information or development services for their children. These barriers leave many children at on-going health risks, contributing to the significant economic, ethnic, and race-based health and literacy disparities among children in Maricopa County.
Family Services Initiative
With funding support, MIHS identified key evidence-based strategies that strengthen the role of health care in promoting strong early childhood outcomes. The Family Services Initiative implements several strategies through two key program components:
Family Learning Center: This 600 square foot glass walled space on the 2nd floor of the Comprehensive Health Center will serve over 40,000 visitors annually. 40% of the $350,000 building costs has been secured. The space will provide patients and community members with:
- reliable, print, computer-based, and video-based health information
- community information and referrals that support literacy and healthy living
- group education
- a children’s early literacy/reading program consistent with ROAR
For more information about the Family Learning Center, click here.
STAGES: Funded by the Trust at $300,000 for two years, the Program will train pediatric residents and improve well visits for over 15,000 children. The program will:
- include a Family Educator as part of primary care for children birth to 11 y/o
- identify children with development, parenting, mental health risk factors
- strengthen family confidence and skills in parenting, literacy, and prevention
- establish physician training for health supervision of low-income young children