Parents play the most central and formative role in their children's lives. The importance of loving, responsive and caring adults is key to children's healthy development. But parenting can be stressful, frustrating and confusing. Oftentimes questions and concerns arise, but not everyone has trusted sources for the answers they need. The Movement has and will continue to work to make parent skill-building information available statewide - through both 24-hour phone lines and the Internet.
Babies begin processing the world from the moment they are born and their brains rapidly develop -- or fail to develop -- in response to the stimulation they receive. Research and experience now prove that high-quality information for parents can make a difference for all families.
Parent initiatives can help increase their knowledge of child development, provide examples of safe and healthy things to do with children, build skills for managing the rigors of parenting, and, in more intensive initiatives, provide support during challenging times.
A number of parent skill-building courses have calculated the benefits of participation, comparing the outcomes of participants to non-participants. More intensive programs have documented that for every dollar spent on a parent-skill program, taxpayers can save $3 in later costs for treatment or remediation, with almost $6 saved for every dollar that assists high-risk mothers.
To help parents with the early development and effective nurturing of their children, we must continue to expand and publicize Help Me Grow Florida, a 2-1-1 phone network of trained staffers ready to help. Those services are available at no fee to families. In addition, the Help Me Grow website in available 104 languages, including English, Spanish and Creole.
While young children's development research has exploded in the last two decades, many parents are often are unaware of it. As a consequence, we must make developmental information available to families through regular emails based on their child's birth date.