Smart Start offers family support through "Parents as Teachers"

Smart Start of New Hanover County is working to support families with their "Parents as Teachers" program.

"I'm in charge of this beautiful, little life right here and it can be overwhelming because you want to make sure you're doing everything you possibly can to do what's best for them," Sara Sloope, a parent involved in the program, said.

The program promotes healthy development of children and school readiness by sending parent educators into the homes to offer support to parents.

It's a long-term approach to providing information to parents on the stages of child development, learning materials and how to meet their child's needs.

Jan Brewington:

"I get to see these families often and for a long time," Jan Brewington, a parent educator with Smart Start, said. "It's not a band aid program; it's a long term support program."

Sessions can start in the prenatal months, coaching parents through the pregnancy and can last until the child is 5 years old.

Only families who meet the financial requirements and are located in New Hanover County can participate.

Smart Start also offers bilingual parent educators for Spanish-speaking families.

Copyright 2014 WECT. All rights reserved