Helping families gain self-sufficiency

The following is a story from a DULCE site in Lamoille Valley, Vermont.

Susan had just had her first child. She was excited to be a new mom but was overwhelmed with caring for her newborn, the family’s financial stress and tension between her and her partner.

Jenn, a DULCE Family Specialist at Appleseed Pediatrics

At the baby’s initial newborn Well Child Check at Appleseed Pediatrics, Susan met Jenn, our DULCE Family Support worker. Project DULCE is a three year pilot project sponsored by the Center for the Study of Social Policy taking place in seven sites across the country. The Lamoille Family Center is the model for the program in a smaller rural community.

The DULCE family specialist meets with families at their first newborn pediatric visit and stays in touch with them through their first six months. This gives new families support with issues that arise, but also in the important aspect of helping families get connected to concrete supports that are designed to help families thrive.

Jenn referred the family to Economic Services and encouraged them to apply for Reach Up, a program that helps eligible parents gain job skills and find work so they can support their children. This family was already receiving WIC and 3-Squares benefits but they didn’t know about the program that provides supplemental income support for families with children. Receiving these benefits helped ease their financial stress.

Jenn worked with the DULCE Medical Legal Partner to help the child’s father apply for Social Security benefits. Over the next six months Jenn’s encouragement helped the family keep their scheduled well child visits, increased their food stability, and lifted some of the financial stress with a monthly Reach Up grant. They also connected to Children’s Integrated Services for additional in-home parenting support and education.

In the year since their child was born, the increased support of the DULCE program helped the family develop a good rapport with their Pediatrician, keep current on their well child visits, and enroll in social programs that strengthen their family.

“I think this service was a nice addition to the already wonderful relationship we enjoy with Dr. Balu. I believe for families in more difficult family or friend circumstances it is probably essential. I can’t stress enough how important these types of services are to families. Emotional support and creating access to vital resources.” -Susan, DULCE Parent