Hello Family: A Mid-Year Update on Our Journey Towards Transformative Change
by Kaitlin Watts, Director of Spartanburg County First Steps
As we reach the midpoint of the year, we get to reflect on the mid-year progress made by Hello Family, a unique initiative in Spartanburg, South Carolina, that seeks to improve outcomes for young children and their families. This initiative is driven by over 60 partners providing services and resources for all children born in Spartanburg, aimed at ensuring that every child can arrive at the schoolhouse door healthy, thriving, and ready to learn.
To meet every new Spartanburg family in a meaningful way, the community partners financed an expansion of several of those services to full-scale within the city. Over the first 18 months of that effort, those services have ramped up and the effects have already been transformative. We wanted to share a few of the highlights from the last six months and let you view the 2021-2022 annual report.
BirthMatters, which operates a community-based doula home visiting program, launched a breastfeeding support group in March 2023. This group, offered in both English and Spanish, provides critical support to pregnant and breastfeeding mothers in the community at no cost. The City of Spartanburg’s Mayor, Jerome Rice, declared March 30 as “Spartanburg Community-Based Doula Day,” a testament to the impact of this program.
Family Connects, which then provides nurse-home visits shortly after birth, continues to strive towards an 80% completion rate for enrolled mothers, a benchmark set by Family Connects International to ensure population impact (almost there!).
Hope Center for Children’s Triple P program has been expanding its reach. This program has tiered supports for families based on what they need, ranging from population-wide supports to intensive one-on-one coaching over several months. The expanded services have enabled the Hope Center to provide support more families with seminars and coaching sessions, assisting 132 families in quarter one and 122 in quarter two in those settings.
Spartanburg County First Steps’ Quality Counts program has onboarded yet another childcare center, bringing the total number of centers served through Hello Family up to nine and the number of children enrolled in those centers up to 497.
Finally, In December, Hello Family hosted over 30 expectant mothers at our second Community Baby Shower. These biannual showers provide moms with information about local resources and baby-basic items such as diapers and wipes.
As we look forward to the second half of the year, we are excited about the potential for further growth and impact. We believe that by meeting every family where they are, we can make a significant difference in the lives of children and families in Spartanburg. We are grateful for the support of our partners and the community as we continue this important work. Stay tuned for more updates as we continue our journey towards transformative change.