Best starts for Kids is a voter-approved initiative led by Executive Constantine to help put every baby born and every child raised in King County on a path towards lifelong success; it’s strategies promote healthier, more resilient children, youth, families, and communities.
West African Family Support program contributes to this initiative by providing bilingual and bicultural parenting/caregiver education and support services to low-income, West African, limited-English-Proficiency immigrants with kids ages 0-5. We offer (i.) monthly support groups, parenting and caregiver workshops in multiple languages and West African dialects, and (ii.) case management services to reduce sources of stress in the lives of families, support responsive relationships, strengthen protective factors and core life skills, and promote early childhood health and development.
Parenting Caregiver Information & Support (PCIS)
Providing bilingual and bicultural parenting and caregiver education and support to families with children ages 0-5, including monthly support groups, parenting and caregiver workshops, and case management. PCIS offers parent and caregiver workshops, monthly support groups and case management/community navigation services.
Positive Family Connections
This program will strengthen relationships between youth and parents and help reduce risk behaviors in youth and teens through shared cultural experiences and exposure, increased developmental understanding and increased parent/youth engagement.
The following services will be included in both the Parenting Caregiver Information & Support Program and the Positive Family Connections Program.
i. Parent & Caregiver Workshops
We plan to offer two-hour parent and caregiver workshops, facilitated by bilingual/bicultural staff in the families’ home language, once a month for 10-12 months, in convenient locations (such as community centers, libraries, the WACC’s One Family Learning Center, etc.) with childcare provided. Our goals for these workshops are to: 1) provide information about child development, 2) offer tools to enhance the caregiver/child relationship, and 3) increase awareness of cultural differences in parenting and educational practices – including increasing familiarity with local schools and promoting kindergarten readiness. We will also be flexible to incorporate topics as they arise from participating parents and caregivers. Facilitators will encourage group discussion, model positive feedback and encouragement, and provide opportunities for participants to role play, consider various scenarios, share ideas, and practice new skills.
ii. Monthly Support Groups
Our monthly support groups will provide opportunities for parents and caregivers to reduce social isolation, build community, increase social supports, and share their challenges and successes in raising bicultural children. During these monthly meetings we will provide an array of supportive programming around early education training, coaching and parenting skills. We are also developing a resource guide which we will provide to parents and caregivers. Childcare will be provided during these monthly support group sessions.
iii. Case Management/Community Navigation
Individualized case management for families will be available for families requiring additional support. Our experienced social workers will build relationships with families through home visits or office sessions, develop individualized action plans, and provide training, strategies, and modeling as needed. In addition, we will provide coaching, referrals, and support to aid participants in accessing and navigating community resources. The intensity and duration of the case management services will depend on the specific needs of each family.