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Region Stories

These stories illustrate how early childhood programs and services funded by First Things First make a difference for young children and families in communities across Arizona.

Home visitation program helps new mom care for infant son in Wickenburg

Young girl holding balloons, wearing a graduation cap in front of a preschool graduation poster

Joyce Rodriguez first heard about home visitation when her son Jayden was a baby.

“I found out through my sister, who saw a flyer at Glendale Community College,” Rodriguez said. “I thought he’s too little. Why would I put him in that?”

The home visitation program that her sister was telling Rodriguez about was through Child and Family Resources. One of their programs provides a parent coach to meet with families of young children to provide voluntary, no-cost, in-home support to families.

The First Things First Northwest Maricopa Regional Partnership Council funds home visitation, which provides parents with regular in-home visits from a trained parent coach, who provides parenting information, models ways to support healthy development and shares connections to other community resources.

“The parent coaches were amazing,” Rodriguez said, describing how her parent coach would come to her home in Wickenburg. Many times she brought unique activities, for example, a fishing activity that used a pretzel rod as a pole and colored cheese fish crackers for matching. “It was also a fun snack for the kids to eat,” she said.

The parent coach also provided a list of community resources that let Rodriguez know about additional activities she could take her son to in the area. At the time, Rodriguez’s husband was traveling frequently for work, and she appreciated the extra support of the home visitation program.

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Young girl holding balloons, wearing a graduation cap in front of a preschool graduation poster

Home visitation program helps new mom care for infant son in Wickenburg

“I used to love going to the library to take him to story time,” Rodriguez said.

When it was time for preschool, the parent coach encouraged Jayden’s enrollment.

“I didn’t know the way to go with pre-k,” Rodriguez said. “She brought a list of nearby schools that had pre-k and helped me choose the right one.”

A few years later, Rodriguez had her second child, a daughter, Jayleen. This time around, she signed up for the program immediately.

“Jayleen wasn’t talking at the age where she should have been,” Rodriguez said.

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Rodriguez and her parent coach worked with Jayleen using blocks with letters to encourage Jayleen to speak more. Eventually, after a developmental screening, the parent coach referred Rodriguez to Arizona’s Early Intervention Program (AzEIP), which provides early intervention services for children under age 3. Jayleen is now receiving speech therapy.

“The parent coaches were always there to help me with resources,” Rodriguez said. “They’re teaching us, as we’re teaching our kids.”

Now, 6, Jayden was prepared for success when he started kindergarten and Jayleen at 2 is getting the speech support she needs.

“The program helped my son, he’s so smart,” Rodriguez said.

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