Program aims to give parents health support

March 14, 2000|BY A SUN STAFF WRITER

State and local officials and the Freddie Mac Foundation said yesterday they will begin a program in Howard County to support first-time parents through the first several years of their babies' lives.

Healthy Families Howard County will add to a $3.5 million Healthy Families effort that serves about 440 families in Baltimore, Montgomery, Prince George's, Frederick and Howard counties. It is expected to serve 75 Howard County families in its first year of operation, and 200 families the next year.

The program, modeled after a national initiative called Healthy Families of America, provides weekly home visits from trained professionals to first-time parents of children up to 5 years old. The goal is to strengthen the relationship between parent and child, reducing the chances of child abuse and neglect.

The Howard County program, to be based in the Columbia area, will be funded with $300,000 from the Freddie Mac Foundation, $321,000 in state money and $125,000 from local county and private organizations.

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