Healthy Kids begins 30th year serving Lincoln County families

Posted:  Tuesday, December 16, 2014 - 11:00am
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Healthy Kids began as an informal network of concerned citizens and agency representatives concerned with child abuse prevention in the spring of 1984. The original group met monthly and was called The Lincoln County Council on Family Concerns.

When state legislation was passed in September of 1985 “to support the growth and development of community child abuse and neglect councils,” the group applied for and was awarded funding. The Lincoln County Child Abuse and Neglect Council (LCCANC) was born, receiving nonprofit status from the IRS.

Programs offered by the LCCANC focused on parent, teacher and student trainings in the schools on child and sexual abuse prevention. There were also workshops presented to Head Start and School personnel regarding Mandated Reporting.

The country then began to look at this issue and Healthy Start in Hawaii was receiving great recognition. It was a voluntary home visiting program using para-professionals to support parents by providing education and connections to community resources. Maine jumped on board in the early 1990s and LCCANC became one of the first home visiting sites to offer this service.

At the same time, the agency went through a name change in order to focus on the support of parents and the wonderful but difficult job that they do. All the research indicated that providing parents with education, discipline techniques, child development information and techniques to deal with a crying baby, would help to prevent maltreatment when the going got tough.

With that, LCCANC became Healthy Kids! A Family Resource Network.

Today, Healthy Kids continues its home visiting programs and mandated reporter trainings. It has expanded its services to include parenting programs at the Two Bridges Regional Jail serving almost 600 inmates in the last few years.

Additionally, the agency has worked with over 650 high school students to teach them about shaken baby syndrome, how to deal with a baby that won’t stop crying, and the impact of drugs and alcohol on babies.

Healthy Kids has created an online parenting resource center and a local cable television show, “Parent Talk,” featuring local parents who discuss common issues. This program is reaching hundreds in our community. Supervised visitation is another support method, which allows children to still see their parents in a safe environment when the courts have determined that that is necessary.

Parenting support programs continue at Head Starts, day cares, the Y’s and in the schools. And the weekly playgroups that break isolation for parents and young kids are all continuing to happen both in Damariscotta and Boothbay serving hundreds yearly.

Healthy Kids is very proud to have supported the children and families in Lincoln County for 30 years. The agency operates without state or federal contracts. For more information about Healthy Kids, log onto www.healthykidsmaine.com, give a call to 207-563-1818 or email the agency at hk@tidewater.net.