The Children’s Council of Watauga County, Inc. has received a grant from the Sisters of Mercy of North Carolina Foundation to expand their Parents as Teachers program to provide family support, parent education, and developmental assessments to ensure children are meeting important developmental milestones.
“This program along with all of our others is building what we call a continuum of care and choices for parents of young children in our community,” says Elisha Childers, executive director of the Children’s Council.
The Children’s Council offers a power-packed lineup of programs and services for families beginning when parents are expecting, at the birth, and until the child is 12. The primary focus is on early childhood (birth to age five), supporting families, and fostering young children’s healthy growth and development.
Parents as Teachers is the newest program in this lineup. Every child involved in the program receives an annual developmental assessment to ensure he or she is meeting important developmental milestones, and monthly group meetings are provided with other families with like-aged children. The Children’s Council staff also helps families connect to other community services if needed.
Every parent has questions when a new baby arrives, and every parent needs some level of support. The Children’s Council offers information, programs, and services for parents.
“When I was a new parent, I had questions and I was reading everything I could about child development, so I was informed and responsive as a parent,” Childers said. “Despite having focused on child development in college, I was full of questions when I had a real live baby. All parents do. This program is like having your own personal parenting coach who is there to focus with you on your baby and to help you be the best parent possible.”
The Children’s Council launched the Parents as Teachers program in the Fall of 2021. The grant from the Sisters of Mercy of North Carolina Foundation will allow it to hire a bilingual Parent Educator who can also serve the community’s Spanish-speaking families.