Parents in Yampa Valley have a new resource to keep kids safe
CRAIG — Providing extra support to parents and caregivers is the aim of SafeCare Colorado, now up and running in the Yampa Valley.
“We know parenting can be both wonderful and stressful. We want to empower our families,” said SafeCare Parent Support Provider Kim Maneotis.
Northwest Colorado Health administers SafeCare Colorado for the Yampa Valley. Support for the program — which is free to parents and caregivers of children age 5 and younger — comes through a 5-year grant provided by the Colorado Office of Early Childhood.
Providers meet one-on-one with families for an hour each week through an 18- to 24-week period, developing a customized program to build parenting skills and provider resources in the home, as well as connections to outside services and providers.
“We are an in-home based program; a lot of other agencies are office based,” said SafeCare Parent Support Provider Jessica Smith.
Providers help parents and caregivers in the following areas.
• Identifying and removing common household safety hazards.
• Increasing positive behaviors and preventing difficult ones.
• Identifying and responding to common childhood illnesses and injuries.
“We meet parents where they are at, validate them and give them more tools for their parenting tool box,” Maneotis said.
Each component of the program offers perks and incentives that set families up for success.
“The program provides parents and caregivers with free items, such as baby gates, electrical outlet covers, gas stove covers, door latches and a health manual developed by pediatricians to help make their home safer and keep their children healthy,” Smith said.
The SafeCare model was developed in 1979. It was implemented in Colorado in 2013 as part of Gov. John Hickenlooper’s “Keeping Kids Safe and Families Healthy Plan.” Through support of the Colorado Office of Early Childhood and the Kempe Center, the program is offered by 13 community organizations serving 41 counties and 2 tribal nations in Colorado.
Northwest Colorado Health brought the program to the Yampa Valley late last year. Since February, Maneotis has graduated five Moffat County families from the program. The Routt County program is a few months behind, but Smith said efforts there are ramping up.
New families are welcome, and referrals are accepted.
“We are a small town, but we are a large community in the support we offer to families and caregivers,” Maneotis said.
Contact Sasha Nelson at 970-875-1794 or snelson@CraigDailyPress.com.