WAUKEGAN – The Lake County Health Department and Community Health Center has launched igrow Lake County, a home visiting service for expectant mothers and families with children up to age 5 who reside in Lake County.
Through the voluntary program, families are matched with a trained professional who provides one-on-one family support and coaching in the comfort of the family’s home.
“The first five years of life are critical in a child’s brain development, and parents play a huge role in building a strong foundation for their kids,” said Lisa Kritz, director of prevention for the Health Department. “Through igrow Lake County, we can help build stronger families, promote kindergarten readiness and reduce child maltreatment.”
Through the program, the Health Department will coordinate intake for home visiting services provided by ChildServ, One Hope United and Family Focus. Trained home visitors provide developmental screenings, help parents understand and respond to their child’s needs, assist with discussing the child’s health with medical providers and facilitate learning activities that strengthen the bond between parent and child. If the family needs additional support, the home visitor can provide information and referrals to community services.
“Babies don’t come with instruction manuals, and through igrow, we are here to help parents who may not have strong family support or experience with raising children,” said Edna Pompilus, coordinated intake specialist for igrow Lake County. “We are making it easier for parents to access home visiting services so they can become better parents and help their children reach their full potential.”
Research shows that evidence-based home visiting has a positive impact on parenting. Families who participate in home visiting are more likely to read aloud, tell stories, say nursery rhymes and sing with their children. These activities build listening, memory and vocabulary skills.
“The underlying mission of igrow is to improve health outcomes by expanding equitable access to home visiting services,” said Jon Ashworth, strategic partnerships manager for the Health Department. “This initiative began with a partnership in North Chicago, and we will continue to build upon that partnership as we also expand access in Waukegan, Zion, Round Lake and Highwood, where we believe we can make a positive impact and address health disparities.”
All igrow Lake County services are provided at no charge to participating families. Funding for the program is provided through generous grants from the Steans Family Foundation and Gorter Family Foundation.
Families interested in enrolling in igrow Lake County are encouraged to call 847-377-8112 or email email@example.com. More information on the program is available at igrowlakecounty.org.