Program Manager: Rita Wagers
Program: First Steps provides short-term support for expectant parents and parents of children ages 0-5 who do not qualify for or choose not to participate in the long-term home visitation services provided through Healthy Families and Parents As Teachers. Families are offered support, educational materials, community referrals, and follow-up phone calls for a minimum of three months.
Mission Statement: First Steps seeks to enrich family life by helping parents establish positive relationships with their children.
Goals/Outcomes/Measures: The primary goal of program services is to reduce child abuse and neglect by providing parents with relevant and age-appropriate information on the following topics: maternal health, newborn and child health, child safety, early learning, family violence, and self-sufficiency.
In 2013, 1319 new mothers received educational materials, referrals, and support through regular phone contacts following the birth of their children through First Steps.
Services: The First Steps program offers support to program participants in four ways:
Quality Assurance Measures:
Collaboration: First Steps is part of the array of services offered through Great Start Georgia – Dalton, the community’s early childhood system of care established through a partnership between the Governor’s Office for Children and Families and the Georgia Department of Public Health. Locally, this partnership is maintained through on-going collaboration between the Family Support Council and the North Georgia Health District. Great Start Georgia – Dalton provides a single point of entry for all expectant parents and parents of children ages 0-5 to community resources available to address family needs. Families needing less intensive parenting support are offered services through First Steps. As part of Great Start Georgia – Dalton, the program partners with Hamilton Medical Center, the local health department, local DFCS, etc., to ensure that families receive the support they need.
Program Funding: First Steps receives funding from the Governor’s Office for Children and Families, United Way of Northwest Georgia, and contributions.