City Social Magazine

MAY-JUN 2016

City Social Magazine in Baton Rouge, Louisiana

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Page 23 of 59

24 r e a d u s o n l i n e a t w w w . c i t y s o c i a l . c o m 24 By Dena Marie Christy, CEO/President Family Road of Greater Baton Rouge was founded in December 1998 to provide a one-stop-shop for families in the Greater Baton Rouge area. The CEO/President since its inception is Dena Christy. This agency collaborates with 108 non-profit, private and government agencies to provide comprehensive services in one location to the Greater Baton Rouge community! The inside of Family Road is modeled after a small town with store fronts and a road that leads you to different educational centers in the building, which provides a warm and welcoming environment for families. Family Road was founded on the principal that the magic moment of birth can open doors for expecting parents to receive services that could improve their family. Family Road serves everyone but plays a large role in the community in working with women. In its aim to close the gaps in social services, Family Road helped identify that the Baton Rouge community had one of the highest infant mortality rates in the country and was awarded its first federal grant called the Healthy Start Initiative under the federal agency Health Resources and Services Administration (HRSA), Maternal and Child Health Bureau in June 2001. Family Road now is on its fourth grant award of $3.5 million for five years and has expanded its services from eight zip codes to all of East Baton Rouge Parish, now servicing between 500 and 600 women, children and their families per year. Family Road Healthy Start, directed by Karla Sayer-Wilburn, is a comprehensive maternal and child health program serving all women of childbearing age ranging from age 12 to 44. The programs goals are to reduce infant mortality and low birth weight babies. Currently East Baton Rouge has an infant mortality rate 11 deaths per 1,000 live births compared to the national rate of 6.7 deaths per 1,000 live births. The program provides case managers, community health workers and outreach staff to deliver home visitation, care coordination, education, advocacy and other services to the women and their families. This includes the father of the child(ren), siblings, grandparents and others who may live in the home. Women are enrolled in the program by self-referral, doctors, health centers, businesses, social service agencies and other collaborating partners. Monthly education and support meetings are held for mothers and their families, and there are one-on-one home visitation sessions. Women and their families are enrolled in the program from preconception until age two of the child. During this journey, the entire family is assessed for different needs and factors, which can lead to positive birth outcomes and healthy living for their families. The family learns essential tools in working with each other during pregnancy, parenting at different developmental stages of their child(ren) and growing together as a family. Staying in a program for three years is a great accomplishment, and families who participate in the Healthy Start program and other programs at Family Road earn Family Road bucks (monopoly money) that can be used in the store to purchase items such as diapers and clothing. Family Road also provides the opportunity for families to earn new car seats and pack-n-plays as they actively participate in the program, reach goals and earn bucks. Family Road also provides free childcare for families during evening classes in order to reduce the barrier of families receiving services and provides transportation for direct service programs. Family Road Healthy Start program also goes beyond the doors of Family Road into the community. The program provides health education workshops on topics affecting women and families and provides intake, resources and referral information. Though Family Road received funding for the program, it does not cover the entire cost of the program or the organization. Friends of Family Road is a great way for individuals to make a donation to help the organization continue providing services to Greater Baton Rouge families. Corporate sponsorships are also available for businesses. For more information about volunteering, sponsorships and services at Family Road, please call 225-201-8888. every Baby deserves a Healthy start! Family Road of Greater Baton Rouge imagine a place where individuals and families could find services ranging from prenatal care, par- enting, fatherhood, health plan options, counseling, education/ training, banking/technology and wellness. then imagine that a woman could find an advocate, support and education about her mental and physical health, pre- conception planning, prenatal care and nutrition, guidance on caring for her child(ren), improving her relationships, assistance in completing her education and direction and encouragement on finding a job so she can support herself, her child and her family. now, imagine that all of these services could be found in one location and were provided by a comprehensive program. that place is real: Family road of Greater Baton rouge's Family road Healthy start program.

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