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Home Visits Bring Hope to More Arkansas Families

PHOTO: Kathy Pillow-Price with the Arkansas Home Visiting Network says home visits return $7 to the state for every dollar invested, by helping struggling parents with one of the world's toughest jobs - raising kids.
PHOTO: Kathy Pillow-Price with the Arkansas Home Visiting Network says home visits return $7 to the state for every dollar invested, by helping struggling parents with one of the world's toughest jobs - raising kids.
September 20, 2013

LITTLE ROCK, Ark. – Advocates for Arkansas families and children hope home visits can make a big, positive difference for the state.

This summer, trained home visitors worked with nearly 10,000 families around the state, and Kathy Pillow-Price, director of the Arkansas Home Visiting Network, says her organization is coordinating with the various programs and the state to increase that number.

She says visitations have been shown to prevent child abuse and improve health and education, by helping parents under pressure do a really tough job – raising children.

"People do not have children intending to be a bad parent, and some parents need specific kinds of help,” she says. “The job of a home visitor is to support parents."

Starting Monday, the Home Visiting Network hosts a conference in Hot Springs about building stronger children and families.

Information about the conference is online at ArkansasCTF.org.

By sending out trained nurses and social workers, the network can help families deal with difficult child-rearing issues, help keep children healthy and prepare them to do well in the classroom.

Pillow-Price says her organization is putting on the conference in part to coordinate between the various programs, so parents get the help they need.

"They may have a medically fragile child, or they may need help getting their child ready for school,” she explains. “The conference will be for home visitors to help them support parents better."

State lawmakers passed legislation last spring aimed at expanding home visitation. Pillow-Price says it's a good investment – home visits have been proven to return $7 worth of positive impact for every dollar spent.

One program in the state is aimed at pregnant teens, and another at families with at-risk children. One newer program that Pillow-Price calls very promising is Following Baby Back Home. It connects families of newborns leaving the neonatal intensive care units with home-visit nurses.

"They can also answer those medical questions that the parents may have, but may think, 'Well, I can wait to go back for a doctor's visit,' but really may need to go ahead and get the answer," Pillow-Price says.





Dan Heyman, Public News Service - AR