By Luis Chavez
I’m a Parent Resource Worker at Mary’s Centers home visiting program where we provide materials and developmental support to new and expecting moms in the District. I’d like to highlight some of the ways that our services have impacted the lives of the families we support.
I personally worked with a homeless couple who have a one-year old baby. This family had been living in their car for several months before the father was involved in a car accident that left the car completely destroyed.
Most of the families that I work with are experiencing some form of crisis. These families rely on programs, like our home visiting department, to connect them with resources that are vital, such as housing, access to food, access to health care, and general support. For example, I personally worked with a homeless couple who have a one-year old baby. This family had been living in their car for several months before the father was involved in a car accident that left the car completely destroyed. This forced the family to start sleeping outside in the cold winter with nothing but a few blankets and the baby’s car seat.
But thanks to the support and resources provided by my program, I was able to immediately enroll them into WIC and Medicaid. I then worked with the family and Virginia Williams to get the family housed and off the streets. This family stated that this program saved their lives and came to their aid when they felt the most hopeless.
This encounter really made me realize that our services are direly needed in our community. Often, we are the safety net for people who fall through the cracks of the system and find themselves facing a crisis that has a potential to put babies in danger. Adequate funding ensures that our evidence-based programs and practices continue to be the safety net for mothers facing crisis.