Hoyleton | ParentSmart Program

Hoyleton Announces ParentSmart Program

Due to a 40% increase in infant deaths through 2018-2019, Hoyleton Youth and Family Services started its ParentSmart initiative in September, 2019. The ParentSmart program takes aim at educating young parents and guardians of infants on the dangers and risk of Sudden Infant Death Syndrome, or commonly known as SIDS. SIDS became a common term in 1969 to bring national awareness to unexplained deaths in infants that shared common characteristics in their passing.

The ParentSmart program is headed by Haunah Vanlaningham. Haunah works and is a volunteer at Hoyleton Youth and Family Services Prevention Department, and is the administrator and moderator for the growing ParentSmart community on Facebook. Haunah is currently in the process of obtaining her Master’s degree. As a mother of one, and with another child on the way, Haunah brings with her a passion for children, a desire to take an active role in the prevention of infant death, and is an advocate for the safety of all children.

The ParentSmart program focuses on topics such as the ABCs of Safe Sleep practice. The ABC’s are that the child should sleep Alone, on his/her Back and in a Crib. ParentSmart coordinates speakers for safety seminars, and provides a variety of resources for SIDS awareness. ParentSmart takes an active role in the community via social media with its primary focus being on education, communication, and plans to introduce interactive classes with partners in the community.

There are a variety of ways to become involved with ParentSmart. Follow their page on Facebook (@ParentSmartCDITF) to learn more about what Sleep Safe for infants and children includes, how you can educate on the prevention of infant deaths, and more importantly, how you can help other young couples and new guardians of infants keep children safe.

If you have questions about Hoyleton’s ParentSmart program, please reach out via Facebook messenger or you can email Haunah at cditf@wordpress.compu-type.net. If you witness the mistreatment of a child or have concerns about the safety of an infant, please reach out to the Illinois Department of Children and Family Services 24 hour hotline immediately at 1.800.25ABUSE.

#Hoyleton125 #ParentSmartCDITF #HoyletonCAREs

Informational: ParentSmart is part of a cooperative with the Illinois Child Death Investigation Task Force of which Hoyleton Youth and Family Services is a fiscal agency thereof.

Hoyleton | It Takes a Village

In Phylicia’s last blog, she discussed how it takes a village, and in this piece, she will explore that village a little more. 

When a child comes into care, the investigator works with the parents to find family members to take the child. Placing a child with a family member is done to help make the transition easier for the child; however, when the family is not an option for placement, the investigator moves to place the child in a traditional foster care home. A foster family is a non-relative home that takes the child but has also gone through training to help them understand the trauma that a child goes through from being removed from their parents. 

Becoming a foster parent is not an easy decision. Some parts of being a foster parent are easy. To love a child that needs love and care is easy. Making sure they are fed and clothed is easy. However, reality sets in, and the honeymoon is over because your child has been through trauma, possibly neglect and abuse. Children that come into foster care come into care with different levels of trauma. That is why we encourage our relative foster parents to become licensed because it gives our families the opportunities to understand the trauma that our kids face and that sometimes the children who need the most love will push us away the most. 

The process seems much more daunting than it is. A lot of the work that it takes to become licensed started when you brought the child into your home. What seemed like a daunting task at first, starts to diminish once you begin moving the ball. By now, you have the support of your caseworker and the licensing worker. They will help guide you through the process. During the licensing process, we at the agency level know that this can be a complicated process, it can seem intrusive, and like we are questioning your means, but we are not. We ask these questions and work toward licensing a home from a place of protection for the child. The children have already been through so much that we don’t want the stress of helping your cause more undue harm. Your acts of getting licensed are helping to build a moment in time that provides this child with some stability and safety when those things seem so far from reach for them. 

It takes a village, each child is unique and different, and a child who finds themselves in care gives them a little added uniqueness. When you find yourself talking yourself out of getting licensed, remember you have a village to support you, and your village starts with Hoyleton.