By John Kelly, columnist
The Washington Post
December 6, 2016
Hope wasn’t sure she wanted another stranger looking over her shoulder. Once a ward of the state, Hope grew up in foster families. Strangers dropping into her life was bad enough. And when they dropped out? Sometimes that was even worse.
“Once I get used to you, I get used to you,” said Hope, 25, who last year was living in a District homeless shelter and expecting a child. “So when you leave, it’s kind of hard for me. I’m used to people coming in and out of my life. Once I get used to you being here, I expect you to stay here.”
Could Abayea Pelt promise to be there for Hope, for her partner, Kirk, for their baby, Wynter Rose?
Abayea is the family case-management coordinator for Community of Hope’s Healthy Start program. Funded by the Bainum Family Foundation and the District’s Department of Health, Healthy Start was launched in February to provide prenatal and postnatal support for struggling D.C. residents facing what is both the most natural thing in the world and one of the hardest: having a baby.
Community of Hope, a partner in The Washington Post Helping Hand, offers prenatal services at its Conway Health and Resource Center in Southwest and its Family Health and Birth Center in Northeast. Once the baby is born — and for at least the first six months after that — Healthy Start counselors such as Abayea make weekly home visits. They’ll keep in touch with participating families for three years.
Home visits cover basic baby care, the importance of immunizations, social and emotional development, and brain development.
Story continued in The Washington Post.