This year we encountered a particularly vulnerable family in our Head Start program. The children had been placed in the custody of their grandmother. The children were moved back into their mother’s home and adjusting to a new step parent. When preschool started both siblings were showing needs in the DECA (social/emotional) assessments as well as showing a lower level of developmental milestones in TS Gold for age appropriate development. The parents were struggling to manage both their and the children’s needs and emotional changes. Both of the mothers were very concerned that they would be judged by the lifestyle the two had chosen. One stated that she has never had any children and she was overwhelmed with filling a parent’s roll. The parents really didn’t know where to begin with getting the kids on a schedule, enforcing discipline, showing affection, and just basic parenting skills. We explained our program and how we give support to the family as a whole. Books, articles, suggestions, meetings, and community resources were given throughout the year.
In working with the family with our Family Advocate and center staff we were able to identify and build on the skills the parents had and empower them to be the best experts for their children. The parents have taken every opportunity to be active and involved in their children’s education – fully participating in the many offered activities, home visits, and parent teacher conferences. Through this time both of the parents have shown a desire to continue improving, both of them work hard to be a model for their children. Recent DECA’s and TS Gold checkpoints show both children meeting and often exceeding the age appropriate milestones. The family is engaged and the children have been growing in leaps and bounds within the classroom.