New Parent Support Program offers home visitation

17 Oct 2011 | Pfc. Nikki Phongsisattanak

There are many challenges that military families face, from dealing with pregnancy while a spouse is deployed, to figuring out how to get a baby to sleep through the night, and finding the time to take a parenting class may not be possible.

Those short on time or unable to attend classes are in luck. The New Parent Support Program, offered through Marine Corps Community Services, offers their Home Visitation program, where help arrives at the door. Their staff can assist parents by offering tips and answer questions about caring for their baby.

“The core program that we offer is home visitation,” said Mary Caldwell, program manager with New Parent Support Program, Marine and Family Services Division, Behavioral Health Division, MCCS, Marine Corps Base Camp Lejeune. “Headquarters (Marine Corps) has said, ‘I need for you to be able to offer one-on-one services to all Marine families to give them encouragement, support and education on what to expect from a child from birth to age five.’”

The goal of the support program is to help improve the lives of service members and their families by providing resources and education. Home visits provide an opportunity for parents to ask question and discuss their concerns in the privacy of their own home.

The program uses the Academy of Pediatrics as a backdrop for information and education as well as child care information for ages up to five. The staff conducting home visitations is a team of professionals and include registered nurses and licensed clinical social workers.

All the home visitors are professionally trained and are bound by confidentiality, so families do not have to worry about protecting their privacy, added Caldwell.

“This is a voluntary program that provides support for families, especially for families that are new to the area, having their first baby or are distant from family,” said Caldwell. “Family support is important to us, and when you don’t have that you can feel really isolated. Home visits provide a sort of a network of support.”

Home visitations can be scheduled monthly or as often as once a week to help accommodate the needs of the family. Nurses and social workers can bring helpful resources such as books or DVDs. They can help parents with many challenges, to include single parenting, separated parents and those who are adopting children.

“Home visitation is the key to all the resources on and off the base,” said Caldwell. “Everyone is eligible for home visitations. Headquarters (Marine Corps) has made an even stronger commitment to this program because it is a prevention program. You always want work on prevention as opposed to reaction.”

The only requirement is families must live within 50 miles of the base.

“The support helps to prepare and strengthen families,” said Caldwell. “It also helps patrons stay in the military longer when service members and their families feel as if they are being taken care of. It’s a fun program that can increase knowledge and skill sets for parents. Our staff has been here for years, and that says that they enjoy what they’re doing. We feel good about making a difference in those families.”

For more information on this program, visit or call 449-9501.