Washington State Parenting and Family Support Resources

Resources and Benefits of Available Parenting Support

Family Support Resources

Nationally more than 2.7 million children are being raised by extended family members, mostly grandparents. This reflects almost a 30 percent increase over the last ten years. Often these types of families live on limited incomes and struggle to meet the children's basic needs. Having knowledge of and access to state assistance is necessary in order to raise these children. This allows them to utilize all the aid available. Even traditional family units are finding it more and more difficult to make ends meet and keep their families above water.

Washington State makes a wide variety of resources available to assist the family unit in its efforts to raise children into productive and positive future citizens. It is common for a child's guardian/parent to have questions regarding what is normal growth, development or behavior at various ages. Parenting is a never-ending challenge that changes constantly. Resources can answer many questions that arise over the life of the child.

Early Support for Infants and Toddlers (ESIT) coordinates early intervention help for families with children from birth to three who have developmental delays. This collection of services can make a big improvement in the future life of the child through support and guidance in the early years of life. More help is offered through Seattle's Children's Hospital and Regional Medical Center. They established The Center for Children with Special Needs in 1998.The Center works to improve care for children with special needs. It provides educational materials, evaluation of various disabilities and researches treatments and care options.

A comprehensive "whole child" preschool program has been designed to assist low-income families and their children to prepare for success when they start school. Early Childhood Education and Assistance Program (ECEAP) provides help with education, health and nutrition, parental participation and support for the family.

The Washington Association for the Education of Young Children (WAEYC) encourages the education and well-being of all young children. The Association makes learning interesting by helping with subject study and putting the things learned into action. Emphasis is placed on families with children ranging from birth to age eight.

A collection of free resources teaches Baby Sign Language through a video dictionary, tutorials, printable flash cards and a wall chart. This type of learning can assist the child in other language skills to improve his abilities throughout his schooling.

Children naturally explore their world and build their abilities, often testing parental limits. Parents are the ones setting and reinforcing the limits placed on their children trying to help them grow into well-adjusted adults. During this process the child may act out: refuse to obey, have temper tantrums, show aggression, demonstrate public misbehavior, even lie or steal. Behaviour Tips for Parents provides guidelines for the family. It helps parents see what is and is not "normal" behavior. This publication lists common ways that children act out and the type of discipline that works best to stop the unwanted behavior. It can help parents choose which method will best work for them and their child.

Born Learning is a campaign helping parents, grandparents and other caregivers see ways of turning everyday occurrences into fun learning experiences for children. Learning opportunities are created through family connections and interaction with each child.

People providing foster care to children receive assistance through Casey Family Programs. These provide information on kinship care, guardianship and adoption services. The Programs also aid in cases of family reunification. The main purpose of these assistance services is to help foster-children make their way successfully from the program and transition into a productive adult life.

For more than 100 years the Children's Home Society of Washington has served the state's families and children. The society helps parents secure out-of-home care, counseling, advocacy and school-based services. They provide information on early childhood development, education in parenting, family support and help with adoption services.

Many parents or other caregivers do not realize that in certain cases children qualify for Social Security Disability assistance. About 80% of learning comes through a child's ability to see clearly. Vision problems and learning disabilities qualify for disability services. The Social Security Resource Center helps individuals find out if they qualify for aid and then supports them through filing for Disability Benefits.

Many parents and others raising children today are looking for ways to cure the child-raising methods that have brought much unhappiness in past generations. Progressive parenting embraces the findings of research, the benefits of providing unconditional love, and the wisdom of societies that treat children more gently. Children are resilient and forgiving. They can—with help—rebuild self-esteem, re-connect to proper emotional responses and reduce the influence of various negative media sources. Washington's children can have better, more secure young years when the adults around them make use of the many services provided to support child-raising.