Family First Community Outreach is an organization owned by Christiane Previlma, located in West Palm Beach, Florida. Its mission is to provide access to healthcare services for first-time mothers and their babies from low income households in Palm Beach County.
Family First is not just striving to make a difference, it’s also ensuring that Palm Beach County residents experience a life of health and wellness.
Their agency is working to remove barriers that prevent access to quality healthcare, resulting in the best possible health and wellness outcomes for at-risk newborns and their parents in Palm Beach County.
Many women dream of having their first child, but for some, their first child comes as a surprise.
“Family First is an organization that allows licensed nurses to come into the home and provide the best quality care that moms need when they come from the hospital,” Previlma said. “We teach you how to hold the baby, how to feed the baby, and if you plan on breastfeeding, we provide tips on that as well.”
According to Previlma, after a first-time mother goes through labor, she is held in hospital care for 24 to 48 hours, often feeling completely clueless as to how to take care of her newborn baby.
Certain health problems that can impact the mom or baby tend to show up either a few days or sometimes even a week after giving birth, which is problematic if they are discharged from the hospital too early.
Not only are mothers being educated on how to care for their newborns, but the licensed nurses help them understand the growth and development of their child as well.
If the baby fails to meet certain developmental milestones, the nurses suggest that mothers bring their baby to their primary pediatrician for further assistance.
Family First also provides care for mothers since they play a major role in their baby’s life.
“The nurses are responsible for attacking early signs of postpartum depression. Postpartum depression is often times mistaken as fatigue and would be seen as normal, but it’s not,” Previlma said. “If we can go into the home and assess them ahead of time and figure out what's going on as to why they’re suffering from anxiety or depression, the mom will be referred to as well to get help before they harm the baby or harm themselves.”
However, Family First is not performing this project alone. Previlma collaborates with Woman, Infant, and Children (WIC), a federally funded nutritional program that helps provide healthy food to homes at no cost. These basic needs help improve the physical, mental and economic well-being of babies and their families.
Family First also provides different programs such as the Fatherhood Project and Teen Moms in Action Program.
The Fatherhood Project allows nurses to teach dads how to assist the mom with the baby. Dads are also given the opportunity to share their experiences with other dads, and they learn how to build a strong bond with their child.
With the assistance from Family First, parents are provided with links to daycare resources.
They are also encouraging young moms to continue their education, with hopes to secure a promising future for themselves and for their babies.
Previlma prefers that history does not repeat itself. She says that teen moms should not have to drop out of school to provide for their babies.
Furthermore, Previlma did not want to make first-time mothers have to go through this process alone when it comes to preparing for the baby to be born.
To solve this problem, Family First has created packages that include babycare essentials such as diapers, wipes, bottles and clothing.
“Sometimes, moms need more than just basic essentials, so we assist them with other supplies if they have no means of getting them such as car seats, cribs, and strollers,” Previlma said. “We also provide CPR/First Aid training and educate parents on water safety and drowning prevention.”
Family First is always looking for donations. For more information about how to donate, visit www.FamilyFirstOutreach.org.
By Elvanice Previlma, Sofia Jas