Parents Face Barriers Connecting to Community Resources
There are many barriers that exist that hinder the ability of parents and caregivers to offer adequate support to their children. From access to services, to lack of helpful information and resources, all parents are impacted to varying degrees. For example, we have found that parents often express frustration about limited access to services for children with developmental and special needs. They often say that they struggle to reach an appropriate contact in some agencies, making it difficult for them to support their child’s needs. Having a referral doesn’t necessarily mean families are linked to a service. Some Help Me Grow – Long Island (HMG-LI) partners have found that it takes 6-7 contacts with a family to successfully connect them to a service.
As a HMG-LI Family Resource Specialist I help address these barriers by providing free, on-going care coordination to families until families are successfully linked to the appropriate resources. For example, I had a referred a family to a program on Long Island, but in order for mom to qualify for this program she had to verify she had Medicaid, food stamps and WIC, and that she had a vehicle. Mom did not own a vehicle since she has been struggling financially, however, she did have access to her family member’s car. The qualifications for some of these programs are so rigid, making it difficult for low-income families to get assistance. After several follow up calls, we were able to guide her through the process so she could connect with the resources she needed.
HMG-LI also builds collaboration across sectors, including: child health care, early care and education, and family support to help bridge the gap between families and the community. Acknowledging the barriers that prevent access to community resources for low-income families is the first step towards future sustainable solutions.
Fabella Decema works for Docs for Tots as a HMG-LI Family Resource Specialist.
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