ALEXANDRIA, Va. — The New Parent Support Program addresses the many concerns and challenges military families with children 3 and younger face.
“The program is offered to military families to enhance parent and infant attachment, increase knowledge of child development, and provide connections to the support services that allow parents to become nurturing and capable caregivers,” NPSP Program Manager Rich Lopez said.
The services are provided by experienced licensed clinical social workers and registered nurses.
Dr. Lori Worley, NPSP program manager, said the program has already saved a life, when a home visitor noticed something was wrong with the pregnancy of one of the mothers in a class she was teaching.
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“About two months ago, I was participating in a group of classes called “Mommy and Daddy Boot Camp” with my husband, SGT Sean Sweeney at Fort Lee, Va.,” CPL Gretchen M. Sweeney said. “One morning before the next class was to begin, I woke up more swollen than normal. Elaine Sexton, a registered nurse and our home visitor, took me aside after the class and told me to call my doctor ... since I was showing signs of preeclampsia.”
Preeclampsia is a condition of pregnancy marked by high blood pressure and excess protein in the urine after 20 weeks of pregnancy.
“My doctor diagnosed me with preeclampsia and told me if I hadn’t gotten to him my baby and I would have both been in danger,” Sweeney said.
SPC James Clark and his wife Kristie at Fort Campbell, Ky., joined the program because they were concerned about their son.
“Our son Hunter has umbilicus hernia and colic and had been crying all the time, plus I had symptoms of post-partum depression,” Kristie said.
“Our home visitor, Mary Vozar from NPSP, was great. She was able to answer all our questions, and what she couldn’t answer, she was able to point us in the right direction to get those answers,” she said.
SGT David Brown and his wife, Karinna, stationed at Fort Bragg, N.C., have known their home visitor Diana McNamara for 33 months.
“We heard about the New Parent Support Program while attending the infant care and parenting classes. At the time I was feeling overwhelmed and a little depressed,” Karinna said,
“Diana goes above and beyond to help my family,” she said. “It’s made things easier by having her come to visit and helping me through some difficult times like when my brother died last year, and when my husband deployed.
“She’s also helped us understand my older son’s developmental delays, and navigating through educational and developmental intervention services,” Karinna said.
Active service members in a 50-mile radius of an installation are eligible to receive these services. For more information, call 706-626-2599 or 706-545-9358.