Paces, Inc.
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Paces program implementation is divided into two main areas:  young mother case management and peer-led parent education and support groups. These services are provided to pregnant and parenting teens ages 11-19 in Craighead County.

Prenatal/ Postnatal Home Visitation Program

Home visits are the cornerstone of the Paces prenatal program. The education-based visits incorporate pregnancy anatomy and physiology, encourage the mothers to maintain good nutrition and to take prenatal vitamins, provide education on danger signs in  pregnancy, preparation for labor and delivery, feeding choices (breastfeeding is encouraged), baby supplies, basic infant care, and newborn behaviors and child development. Young parents followed in the home visitation program are taken through the evidenced-based curriculum Partners for a Healthy Baby. This curriculum has been researched and proven effective to decrease incidences of low birth weight. Furthermore, participants have fewer repeat pregnancies, decreased rates of physical abuse and neglect, increased rates of up-to-date immunizations and enrollment in a medical home, significantly greater likelihood that mothers will read to their children, improved child development, and increased maternal responsiveness in adolescent mothers.

Paces staff assists participants in getting prenatal appointments at the local health department prenatal clinic, the family practice residency program, or from a private provider. Case managers are available to provide transportation for clients to medical appointments and social service appointments. Clients are encouraged to stay with their families and not move out on their own. At each visit, the case manager emphasizes the importance of establishing paternity, finishing school, and preparing for the future through education and obtaining a good job. Incentives in the form of Baby Bucks are given to participants for desired behavior (coming to meetings, going to doctor appointments, keeping current immunizations, finishing high school, getting a job, etc) that can be used to purchase diapers, wipes, and other items.

Peer-Led Parent Support Groups

All pregnant and parenting clients are encouraged to attend the parent support groups which use the Meld curriculum. Meld is a primary prevention program for child abuse and neglect, truancy, and the cycle of poverty teen moms have difficulty escaping. The peer-led, self-help model allows parents to learn from each other. Groups are facilitated by volunteer teams of women or men (parent group facilitators—PGFs) who were young parents and reflect the group’s cultural composition.

Parent groups meet once a month to review practical information and receive peer support. The Meld model involves a meal, childcare, and transportation for those who need it.  The nutritious meal served is often the best meal of the day for the participants.  As parents attend group, the children are cared for by groups of volunteers overseen by Paces staff. The Meld curriculum is based on five subject areas: child development, child guidance, health, family management, and parent development which reflect Paces vision areas. These topics are addressed over time and parents learn, grow, and become friends as they solve problems communally, thereby building strong families.