History of Baby Bear Hugs
Baby Bear Hugs began as a grass roots, peer to peer, parent support program in the late 1980’s in Yuma County, Colorado. Realizing that new parents sometimes lack support and have little understanding of normal child development, the local community organized trained volunteers, who were experienced parents, to reach out to new and isolated parents. The purpose was to provide parents with support, parenting education, connection to community resources, and build positive parenting and family strengths. The program's founding principles are that it is universal (available to all parents), participation is voluntary, and it is free for the families.
Over the years the program has expanded, transformed and intensified its services, utilizing trained, certified Parenting Educators to meet changing needs of families while keeping the original goals of providing parenting education and support. The program is now in 8 Counties in Eastern Colorado. Baby Bear Hugs incorporates health and safety information into the visits throughout the program, uses Ages & Stages to do developmental and social-emotional screenings. Programs are managed and services coordinated by County Coordinators in each County. Trained Parenting Educators provide the evidence based curriculum of Partners for a Healthy Baby and Nurturing Parenting to meet a variety of parenting needs through ongoing (weekly or twice monthly) home visits. Baby Bear Hugs also delivers the evidence based program of Nurse Family Partnership in 6 Counties. Baby Bear Hugs continues to work to deliver a broad continuum of services to support families and meet their parenting needs, never doing for the parents/ caregivers what they can do for themselves.
Baby Bear Hugs has incorporated programs focusing on mental, emotional, and behavioral health. Seeing that parents and caregivers are struggling with mental health issues that can impact the healthy development of their children, Baby Bear Hugs is providing a promotoria model of service delivery. Parenting Educators are not mental health professionals but are able to initiate discussions that will empower parents and caregivers to address mental health concerns, find a healthy means of support, and normalize the conversations so they will cope with concerns as they arise. If they do need professional help, Parenting Educators work with parents and caregivers to find appropriate resources. This is addressed through perinatal screening and assessment, the delivery of the Baby MEB Box (Mental, Emotional, Behavioral), and contracting with a Mental Health Consultant. The goal is that families will be stronger, children will grow up healthier and happier, and will give back to their communities as adults.
Baby Bear Hugs Regional Office-- 201 S. Main Street Yuma, CO 80759 -- Phone (970) 848-5274 -- Fax (970) 848-0357 email: firstname.lastname@example.org