HOPES program gives new moms and families a helping hand

Left to right. Maria Hernandez, Gayleen Rutherford and Denise Schumacher distribute personal hygiene products at the back-to-school bash in Eagle Grove. Photo provided

Being a new mom can be a very scary and stressful time even when a woman is looking forward to her new baby. This hectic time can be made even more difficult if a family faces some difficult times and is worried about having enough support before and after the baby arrives. Luckily, a program offered through the Wright County Public Health Department can offer assistance to expectant and new mothers. The Healthy Opportunities for Parents to Experience Success (HOPES) Program is a voluntary home visitation program for families living in Wright County.

HOPES is a free program that moms and families in the area can apply to be part of if they are expecting a child or have a child between zero and three years of age and meet certain eligibility requirements. Gayleen Rutherford, HOPES Program Manager, notes that they accept moms and families into the program after the baby has been born but it is even better if the mom can be involved prenatally. She says, “Stats show the earlier we’re able to get involved with families and babies, the more successful they’ll be in the long run.”

Participating families work with a Family Support Worker who will conduct one visit a week with the family to help them prepare for their baby. The support worker will also keep visiting frequently after the baby is born according to the family’s needs. HOPES helps families with a variety of parenting issues from preparing their homes for a new baby and finding child care to food stamps and other assistance programs. The goal is to support the family and baby before and after birth. The program is generously funded by a grant provided by the Building Families program.

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