More help for new parents: Initiative expands aid to Columbus

A nonprofit organization based in Jeffersonville that oversees the Women, Infants and Children program locally is expanding its Healthy Families initiative into the Columbus community.

New Hope Services will begin offering the program for new and expectant parents beginning Sept. 1 out of offices in the Doug Otto United Way Center, 1531 13th St., said Jayne M. Labes, spokeswoman for New Hope.

Healthy Families is a voluntary and confidential home-based service which provides a family support specialist to visit homes of new and expectant parents to provide information about a baby’s health and development, information about community resources and to answer questions, Labes said.

The family support specialist may work with a family from the time a baby is born until the child is 3 years old, she said.

The agency expects to serve as many as 45 families per month, Labes said.

The Bartholomew County office will have a supervisor and two employees with the possibility of one or two more staff members being added depending on need.

The specialist will provide information about infant and child brain development, age-appropriate developmental screenings, information about budgeting, transportation and education and employment opportunities for parents and how to keep up with childhood immunizations and health care, Labes said.

The new office will be located near the Women, Infants and Children program at the Doug Otto Center, giving local families a chance to self-refer to obtain services from Healthy Families, Labes said.

Families may also be referred from a physician or other community agencies, she said.

The program is already being offered in Scott, Clark, Floyd, Fayette, Rush, Union, Jefferson and Jackson counties. New Hope has been offering the Women, Infants and Children program in Bartholomew County since 2014.

For more information

Offices for the new Healthy Family offices at the Doug Otto United Way Center will open on Sept. 1. To contact the agency now, call the Jeffersonville New Hope Services home office at 812-288-4304.

About New Hope Services

Based in Jeffersonville, nonprofit New Hope Services has been working with families for 59 years, with outreach to 20 counties across Indiana.

The organization focuses on adult services, family services and housing and community development. Clients include families, seniors and adults with developmental disabilities.

New Hope has 180 employees and serves more than 14,000 individuals and families each year.

For more on the organization, visit newhopeservices.org.

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Julie McClure is assistant managing editor of The Republic. She can be reached at jmcclure@therepublic.com or (812) 379-5631.