Because children ages prenatal to five and their families are amongst those impacted by the pandemic, Mecklenburg County Commissioners have awarded $342,500 to Smart Start of Mecklenburg County (SSMC) to implement Smart Start's home visiting expansion plan, "Home Visiting: Equitable Evaluation, Growth, and Expansion of Services in Mecklenburg County."
To launch the home visiting expansion plan, SSMC created a new position, and is proud to welcome Veronica Kirkland as the new Home Visiting Expansion Coordinator. In this role, Veronica will develop a sustainable plan that coordinates, enhances, expands and advocates for high-quality home visiting programs to serve expectant and parenting families so that children are safe, healthy and ready to learn.
Parents struggling to figure out how to pay the bills, buy food, and afford medicine are under incredible pressure. Such high-stress demands can make the challenging task of parenting even more difficult and overwhelming--putting children at greater risk for learning disabilities, behavior problems, developmental delays, and health problems.
Home visiting programs are designed to mitigate those risks. They pair families with trained professionals who provide parenting information, resources and support throughout their child's first few years. Research has shown that high quality home visiting programs can increase children's school readiness, improve child health and development, reduce child abuse and neglect, and enhance parents' abilities to support their children's overall development.