Williams' family with JamayaRaising St. Louis provides a critical safety net that supports families from pregnancy through a child’s early development stages, all free of charge. Parent Educators and Nurses for Newborns meet families in the home or another convenient location and offer healthcare, educational services, and community resources that support a child’s growth and can help to stabilize the family unit.

The range of services are based on each family’s needs. For Jaycell Aldrige and Dayaneray Williams, parents of 14 month old Jamaya Aldrige, help with finding full employment made a huge difference in stabilizing their family. Parent educator Roy Harris made good use of his monthly visits with the family. In addition to childhood development instructions, he offered goal-setting guidance, coaching and encouragement that helped the couple attain full-time employment. “The monthly visits taught us about positive character traits,” Williams said, that helped them set and achieve their goals.

“For families, unemployment can mean more than just the loss of a job and resources,” according to the Urban Institute, a research organization. “As parents struggle to make ends meet, instability can strain parents’ and children’s relationships and harm their overall well-being. Economic and psychological stress can lead to changes in housing or family structure that may have long-lasting adverse effects on children’s development,” asserts the Institute.

Instructions and access to community resources have made the difference for this young family. “We gained valuable information about community resources during the Family Connections meetings,” said Williams. The Family Connections are monthly meetings that feature topical issues on parenting, offer resources and give program participants an opportunity to connect with one another.  More than 75 percent of program participants were referred to one or more community resources in the past year.

With the attainment of full employment, ongoing healthcare for their daughter and helpful instructions, this family is well on the way in realizing their ultimate goal ― a healthy and happy child who is nourished by loving, and economically stable parents. 

Raising St. Louis is a free-of-charge program that provides home visitation services to improve child health, meet developmental milestones, and support parents in raising children who reach their full potential. For more information call 314.747.RSTL (7785), or click here to enroll.