November 7, 2018

By Kelly Rupard

Parenting is a huge responsibility, and let’s be honest – it’s not an easy job. But we also know that parents set out wanting the very best for their children, and the free, local program, Healthy Families Tennessee, is there to make sure that parents have the caring, non-judgmental support they need to create a happy, healthy childhood for their children.

Parents are a baby’s first teacher, first friend, and first love. Our goal is to support that relationship, so it can thrive. The first three to five years of life are crucial to a child’s physical, cognitive, and social-emotional well being over a lifetime. Children of families who participate in evidence-based home visiting programs like Healthy Families are more likely to have good health and education outcomes and are less likely to enter the foster system.

Since 2013, Healthy Families Tennessee, a program of Prevent Child Abuse Tennessee, has been supporting new parents by providing the latest information on child development, parenting skills, and parent-child bonding and attachment. Through in-home visits, parents have fun while learning with interactive games and toy making. As a lifelong resident of Johnson County, I know how hard it can be to find the resources you need. As a home visitor in the Healthy Families program, I help connect families with those needed resources and help parents to set and achieve goals.

Wanda, a mother who has been participating in the Healthy Families program for over a year, says, “I personally LOVE the program. They have helped me set and
achieve goals. This process has helped me to be the best mommy I could be. Other than support from loved ones, this has been the best support I’ve had to help me through my pregnancy and after.”

If you are interested in receiving honest support and helpful guidance, please call or text (423) 440-1298 for information on how to get started. You can also email
kelly.rupard@pcat.org. If you enroll before the end of November, you will receive a free pack of diapers. For more information about in-home support, visit pcat.
org/support-for-parents. You may also email program supervisor, Jessica Anderson, at Jessica.anderson@pcat.org or call at 423-834-1267.

For over 30 years, Prevent Child Abuse Tennessee (PCAT) has been supporting parents, educating communities, and building safe, stable, nurturing environments
where children can thrive. Through in-home support, crisis intervention, and advocacy and education, PCAT is strengthening families and building stronger communities across the state. Learn more at pcat.org. Rupard, is a Home Visitor with Healthy Families Tennessee.