Quay County Sun - Serving the High Plains

Quay home visitation program notes successful first year

 

September 23, 2014



QCS Staff

Quay County’s home visitation program, a response to findings that the county came in last among New Mexico counties in child welfare measures, has completed a successful first year of operation, according to the center’s director Lola McVey.

The center held an open house on Sept. 16 at its new location, 615 S. Second St., Tucumcari, across Second Street from the Tucumcari Library, where the program has offices and its own waiting/conference room.

McVey and fellow parent educators Sonya Montano and Kenia Cepeda conduct the program’s home visits to families who are expecting a first child or who who have children under five years of age.

The parent educators help parents learn to observe their children and address their concerns about parenting, according to program literature. They can also conduct development and health screenings for children, and help families tap into community resources that can provide additional support.

The parent educators can also suggest activities and strategies to further child development and host group meetings to help families learn and share from each other.

McVey stressed that the parent educatators do not tell parents and caregivers how to raise children. They support parent decisions, and help them with information and referrals to assistance, she said.

In the past year, McVey said, the parent educators have worked with 52 families, and more than half of the families referred to the program have become clients, she said.

“We can always accept more,” she said.

Presbyterian Medical Services operates the home visitation program with grant funds from the New Mexico Children, Youth and Families Dept.

The program is a response to findings that Quay County had experienced some of the state’s highest rates of infant mortality, low birth weight babies, and babies born to teen parents. lowest rates of children enrolled in preschool and who have health insurance. The findings resulted from a study conducted by Kids Count, a child welfare advocacy program sponsored by the Anna E. Casey Foundation.

 

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