Successful Connections provides one-stop for parenting support and community resources

United Way’s Successful Connections program pairs pregnant women and families of new babies with community resources that can make them more successful parents. The program’s Early Identification and Referral Team connects parents with programs ranging from pregnancy counseling and parenting to child care, head start, food and nutrition, and drug and alcohol treatment and recovery services. The program is free and open to Shawnee County families.

Successful Connections received 1,230 referrals for Shawnee County families in 2013. The families were identified as being at risk for child abuse or neglect. Most families had multiple risk factors ranging from substance abuse to domestic violence, unstable housing and more. Among them, 86 percent of families were low-income; 75 percent were teens; 35 percent had some type of mental health concern; and 23 percent had less than a high school education.

Successful Connections connects families with home visitation services from agencies offering child development or support services. Young pregnant women may need help with basic parenting skills, breast feeding, nurturing children and fostering healthy relationships, early childhood education or support for children with developmental disabilities. A Dad’s Parenting Program may help a first-time father.

Since available community services are myriad, it is a tremendous weight off of young mothers and families to have one organization assess their needs and connect them to all of the referral services they need.

Any pregnant woman or family with young children living in Shawnee County is eligible for the program. Call 785-272-0878 or email SuccessfulConnections@UnitedWayTopeka.org.