The pregnancy center program provides women with the necessary resources and emotional support so that they are able to continue their pregnancies and deliver full-term, healthy babies. The primary way that this assistance is provided is through the center’s Step Up program. In this program, pregnant women and families with infants meet monthly with a staff member to assess needs and goals, receive material assistance (e.g. diapers, formula), and get connected to community resources (e.g. prenatal care, childcare, job help). During these meetings, the social worker also assesses for domestic violence and
substance abuse, and provides education on Fetal Alcohol Spectrum Disorders (FASD).
In addition to these monthly meetings, we offer separate appointments for pursuing stable employment. Families may participate in the Step Up program until the child reaches two and a half years old.
A cornerstone of our Step Up program is our educational programming on Sudden Infant Death Syndrome (SIDS). One of the leading causes of infant deaths is SIDS, which accounts for 4.61% cases of infant deaths in DC, according to the DOH report. To address this risk factor, at each appointment, we ask where the child is sleeping and reiterate the steps a parent can take to reduce the risk of SIDS. Follow-up also is facilitated through monthly phone calls to families who have received a safe sleep item to inquire about safe sleeping practices.
In 2018, the pregnancy center distributed more than 48,000 diapers. By helping alleviate these immediate material stressors, mothers are more able to focus on their short-term and long-term goals, such as employment and further education, and thus strengthen their families long-term.
Due to the personalized nature of our services, our staff and trained volunteers are able to form lasting supportive relationships with the individuals we serve over the course of our monthly meetings. Many of the families stop by to donate baby items or to say hello even after their child has aged out of the program. We also will help families who have completed the program with a job or food stamp application or connect them to resources in the community.
Client Photo Courtesy of Renata Grzan Wieczorek/RenataPhotography.com