Santa Maria provides multiple early childhood services to help children and guardians overcome the barriers that limit their ability to change their circumstances and to find the means toward improved education. Santa Maria was chosen as the lead agency by the Place Matters initiative in the area of Early Childhood/Youth Development programming in Price Hill.
Santa Maria has adopted the Every Child Succeeds® program, which offers first-time mothers and their families support to ensure an optimal start for their children. Every Child Succeeds is a collaborative, evidence-based home-visitation program that includes 9 provider agencies whose social workers, child development specialists and nurses provide services for first-time, at-risk mothers on a regular basis from the time of pregnancy until the child’s third birthday and is designed to optimize child development and promote a variety of positive outcomes.
Santa Maria’s Family Child Care Provider Training Program provides ongoing training to currently certified family child-care providers. Monthly trainings are offered to Family Child Care providers and include the following topics: “Working with Special Needs,” “Every Child Has Potential,” “Communication Is Critical,” and “Developing Positive Self-Esteem In Children. In addition, 20 providers are offered more intensive services. This core group receives home visits from the Santa Maria program coordinator, who gives encouragement and guidance on implementing information gained from trainings into the home child-care business, along with other child development and professional development support.
Santa Maria’s Promoting Our Preschoolers (POP) and the Supporting Partnerships to Assure Ready Kids (SPARK, a collaboration with The Children’s Home of Cincinnati) are Santa Maria’s family-focused kindergarten-readiness programs that work collaboratively with families, schools, and the community through home visitation. Through home visits participants will receive: developmental screens, parent support and education, advocacy and referrals for Price Hill’s children and their families. Children receive educational supplies and participate in home or group-based learning opportunities to increase the child’s success in school and life. The parents are also engaged and introduced to the wealth of other programs available at our agency so that we are working on goals for the whole family. Both programs work jointly with families to help get their children ready for kindergarten by building reading, language and social skills, and seeks to create a seamless transition into school for preschool-age children while ensuring that barriers to school readiness are removed.
The Stable Families initiative targets neighborhoods and schools with high student mobility rates. It creates long-lasting change by addressing and resolving the issues that push families to the brink of homelessness. Each participating family receives individual attention and guidance from a case manager who provides: family counseling and advocacy for the family, assistance in negotiations with landlords and other entities to help families remain in their homes, help in locating resources for health care, afterschool programs and programs for children with special needs, short-term financial support for rent, transportation, utility bills, household budgeting assistance, and connections to resources and supports to prevent future crisis situations.
The Consortium for Resilient Young Children brings together the best of Early Childhood and Mental Health practices. Historically, these two disciplines have operated without integration. The Consortium promotes best practices related to quality child care and access to children’s mental health services.