OSB_blogimage_may2015We say it over and over: Parenting can be tough. From the first day a child comes home from the hospital, parents face decisions and schedules and subjects they most likely have never even thought about before. It’s a time when parents — especially those in high-risk families with few community connections — need all of the support they can get.

So do their babies.

That’s where Operation Safe Babies comes in. With support from CareFirst and through a partnership with Cribs for Kids, SCAN’s newest program will focus on educating parents about safe sleep for infants, providing cribs for families in need and delivering resources for families in Northern Virginia.

Child abuse prevention programs function at all points along the continuum of children’s lives, whether they’re infants or teens. But there is something compelling about programs that start at the very beginning. Operation Safe Babies will allow us to connect with parents at the start of their experience, being there to tell them “yes, this can be hard,” and “no, you’re not alone.”

This month our Public Education Manager Tracy Leonard met with teen parents at TC Williams High School and will gather over 20 service providers together at Inova Fairfax Hospital to pilot the training program. In the coming months, SCAN will provide 200 infants in our community with safe cribs. We’ll work with community partner organizations to provide parents of infants with specially developed educational materials and resources on Safe Sleep and Abusive Head Trauma.

We will start, again and again, at the beginning of hundreds of children’s lives. As prevention advocates, we can think of no better place to be.

— Sarah Self, Public Education Coordinator

If you are interested in hosting a training or learning more about the program, please contact Public Education Manager Tracy Leonard at 703-820-9001 or tleonard@scanva.org.

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