South Ward Healthy Beginnings (SWHB) is a program within the South Ward Promise Neighborhood (SWPN) located in Newark, New Jersey designed to improve the outcomes of children and families by reducing sources of stress, strengthening children’s core skills and supporting responsive relationships. SWHB has four critical pillars of its model: quality health care, two-generation family support (Promise Navigation), quality early childhood programming and a 0-5 community of practice.
Quality Health Care:
SWHB recognizes the importance of quality health care at the early stage of human development and the importance of laying the foundation for good health. SWHB will operate out of the South Ward Wellness Center and provide obstetrics/gynecology and pediatric services. The center is designed to hear the voices of BIPOC women and listen to their needs and support the holistic development of their children. The center will also house two critical programs: Healthy Steps and Centering Pregnancy.
The SWHB family support pillar is designed to help families thrive and become economically stable to create supportive home environments and routines in order for children to be successful. Our internal program is called Promise Navigation which delivers direct services, that are tailored to individual needs and coordinated, through two service lines: a stability service for families in crisis and an innovative milestones service, in which state certified Community Health Workers (CHWs) partner with parents and children to monitor their progress against 54 scientific proven milestones developed for each individual’s life stage. SWHB does not deliver all of these services alone but partners with over 20 local organizations to support children and families. All of these services are linked together through our state of the art database that links all partners together.
Quality Early Childhood Programming:
Quality early childhood education is essential to creating a strong foundation for a child’s future development and a strong base for lifelong learning and learning abilities, including cognitive and social development. SWHB builds a network of existing quality early childhood partners In addition, by being part of the SWHB network, the early childhood centers understand the importance of alignment and connection with the overall SWHB model.
The SWHB peer community is designed to bring families together to share common concerns, praise each other, build connections and together meet individual and collective goals. SWHB currently uses two methods to build a peer community:
- Family College: Family College (FC) offers parenting enrichment classes for parents and/or caregivers of children ages 0-5. “Successful parenting enrichment programs can help change parenting behaviors, promote protective factors and lead to positive outcomes for both children and parents. Protective factors include nurturing and attachment, knowledge of parenting and of child and youth development, parenting competencies, parental resilience, and social connections.” (Child Welfare Information Gateway et al., 2013)
FC focuses on protective factors, breastfeeding, labor and delivery, advocacy, and prenatal and postpartum support and wellness. For parents and/or caregivers of children ages 0-3, FC also focuses on literacy, nutrition, safety and discipline. After graduation parental support continues with a Promise Navigation assigned CHW) tracking children for achieving developmental Milestones.
- SWHB Loyalty Program: SWHB’s loyalty program is designed to encourage children and families to participate in the community of practice and meet families needs by providing essential family items like formula or diapers. Each family is given a loyalty account and the more activities they participate in the more points they accumulate. After collecting a certain amount of points, each family can redeem their points at the SWHB store for items such as diapers or formula.
- Community Programming: SWHB to curate a yearly calendar of activities that participants can attend to help build the peer community and build relationships. These events will be a mixture of fun and informational activities.