Community groups offer parenting help

Monika Spaulding, Digital Editor

Hoping to give parents the resources they need to be the best parents they can be, Washington County Prevent Child Abuse hosted a lunch and learn Wednesday. Parenting Skills was the focus of the event, which highlighted several organizations in the county that are available to parents who need support and guidance.

“Children learn parenting skills from their parents,” said Laura Barrett, who works for Hoosier Hills PACT and is on the board for PCA.

She wants to help arm parents with the tools they need to be the best parents they can be.

Because April is Child Abuse Prevention month, she thought this would be a fitting time to get the information out.

T.J. Gettelfinger RD from Indiana WIC (Women Infant and Children) talked about the resources their organization offers. She said they perform nutrition assessments on the children.

“We encourage moms to learn new ways to take care of their children,” she said. 

WIC is income based, but is not limited to the number of people who can receive their benefits.

“The more people in our program, the more we can serve,” she said. 

Gettelfinger said there is a WIC app mothers can download for their phones. 

She said they help mothers get what they need, including nutritional programming and much more.

Washington County WIC can be reached by calling 812-883-1394.

Joni Muchler is an educator through the Washington County Purdue Extension Office. She talked to the group about programs she offers through her position. She said that while some have fees, there are ways to get sponsors for people who are interested.

Strengthening Families is a 7-week course geared for families with children ages 10-14 years. The cost is $10 for the whole family for the full seven weeks. She said the program has a return investment on the community.

The group meets once a week and dinner is served. There are incentives to come and a grand prize drawing at the end of the course.

It is designed to help build community and allows parents and youth to practice skills with learning games and family projects. It is implemented in all 50 states.

“I hope to have it again in the fall,” said Muchler.

Another course she has is Co-parenting for Successful Kids. This looks at custody issues and other problems spit families face, as well as talking about how kids are effected by divorce and how parents can handle their own stress. The course can be taken in person or on-line. She said she can do it as a full class or one-on-one with people. The cost is $50.

Muchler can be reached about her programs at 812-883-4601.

Kim Taylor talked to the group about Hoosier Uplands and their service of low income, foster and homeless families. She said they work with pre-natal mothers and children from birth through three years. At the age of three, they move to the Headstart program.

“Parents are the most important teacher kids will ever have,” she said, adding that they work to take care of the parents and help them have what they need to be successful.

She said they offer parenting classes one to two times a month, as well as workshops.

Taylor mentioned car seat fitting stations to make sure parents are installing them properly, as well as programs to get free car seats if needed. Parents can also recycle old car seats. 

Currently, Hoosier Uplands has 340 children enrolled and 253 are under poverty level.

She said they help parents to keep their jobs by offering car help, job training, substance abuse education, domestic violence trainings and more. They also help with learning to budget money.

Call 812-849-4447 to get more information about Hoosier Uplands or visit

Chelsey Engle spoke from New Hope Services’ CAPS program. She said the organization supports parents while advocating for children in the home. There are no income restrictions for the program. She said CAPS provides home-based, goal oriented case management on a number of areas including resources referrals for food and nutrition, transportation options, substance abuse services and more, emergency assistance, financial/resource budgeting and more.

For more information on CAPS, call 1-800-237-6604.

Donna Wesner spoke to the group about CARE Pregnancy Center. It is a non-profit Christian organization that helps parents and children. There are no income guidelines.

In 2017, the group served 317 families.

“The welfare of children is very important to us,” she said, adding that they are encouraged when they see improvements in clients’ lives.

CARE offers a Parent Empowerment Program that allows parents to earn while they learn. As they go through curriculum geared toward the early years of parenthood, they earn Baby Bucks, which may be spent in the baby boutique, which has a variety of baby and maternity items. Other things include diapers, formula, baby wash, blankets, baby food, equipment and more.

Call CARE at 812-883-2675 for more information.

Terri Backherms talked to the group about the services at LifeSpring Health Systems. She said they have been in business for over 30 years, serving six counties.

In March alone, the Washington County office served 449 clients. 

They work with parents on budgeting, parenting skills and help with mental stability in every day life.

They help clients learn how to parent in a positive way.

For more on LifeSpring, call 812-883-3095.


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