Family Home Visiting Programs Adapt Amid COVID-19

Communities in Durham and Guilford counties have adapted their home visiting programs to ensure parents and children can access support during the COVID-19 pandemic.

Book Harvest

Book Harvest in Durham is making sure its Book Babies home visiting program continues. Book Babies focuses on literacy coaching for parents with children birth to age five and age-appropriate book giving of 20 books each year. Now more than ever when parents find themselves home school teachers, Book Babies is vital support.

Home visits with Book Babies families have been adapted to be provided virtually through phone and FaceTime, Skype and text in both Durham and Forsyth counties. Each weekday a recommended resource for children ages 0-5 and one for ages 5-10, is available on Book Harvests’ website and social media at 8 a.m. There is also a weekly Book Harvest Live Facebook broadcast every Tuesday at noon to stay connected to the community and provide support to families at home.

Ready for School, Ready for Life

Ready for School, Ready for Life (Ready Ready) in Guilford County sprang into action in March to make adjustments to its strategy for building a connected, innovative system of care for the community’s youngest children and their families.

Through a partnership with The Duke Endowment, Ready for School Ready for Life is implementing the Get Ready Guilford Initiative (GRGI) to build the foundation of the system of care in partnership with home visiting programs and pediatric practices across Guilford. Partner programs have continued serving families, but in innovative ways.

For example, one of Ready Ready’s partners is Guilford Family Connects, which offers home visits to families with newborns. Typically, a registered nurse visits their home within the first few weeks after leaving the hospital to check on the health and well-being of the new baby, the mother and other family members. Due to COVID-19, home visits weren’t possible. Now families with newborns are being supported by nurses through visits by telephone and via Skype. To date, the response from families has been positive and nurses have found it easy to connect by phone as families shelter in place.

In 2019, Guilford Family Connects served more than 3,500 families and anticipates even more families will be served in 2020.

Congratulations to Book Harvest and Ready for School, Ready for Life for continuing to support families at such an important time.

 Ready for School, Ready for Life and Book Harvest are both part of NC’s Campaign for Grade-Level Reading dedicated to supporting children’s health and well-being to be on track to read on grade-level by the end of third grade.