New Parent Support Program assists families

  • Published
  • By Glenn S. Robertson
  • 90th Missile Wing Public Affairs

The first few years of a baby’s life can be critical to their physical, social, emotional and educational development, but new parents may be uncertain in how best to guide their children through those developmental milestones.

To help parents navigate those unfamiliar waters, the Air Force New Parent Support Program provides information, support and guidance to parents as they care for their newborns, infants and toddlers. The program helps military families learn about the growth and development of infants and toddlers, to prepare for the changes that come as a baby is born, grows and develops.

Though the program has been available for some time, many Airmen are not aware of its existence or the many benefits it can provide.

“Though many Airmen may not even know what this program can do for them, I see it as a ‘one-shop-stop’ for expecting families to connect them to resources available to them whether it’s on base or off-base,” said Lennea Ramirez, Family Advocacy nurse managing the New Parent Support Program at F.E. Warren. “The thrill of a new baby is one of life’s most wonderful and challenging experiences, however, parenthood is the role we are least prepared for. The goal of the New Parent Support Program is to educate and prepare new parents for pregnancy, birth and childcare through the first three years of life.”

The program offers free books, parenting classes, home visits, education, support and information.  Program services can be started at any time during the pregnancy or after delivery and continue as needed until the child is three years old.

The New Parent Support Program’s staff consists of nurses, social workers and home visitation specialists, and is supervised and monitored at the installation level by the Family Advocacy program manager. The program focuses on providing one-on-one support for new and expectant parents through home visits, but some installations may offer parenting classes and groups.

Though there are some differences in available services from base to base, the NPSP supports new parents across the Department of Defense in becoming more prepared parents.

“I was introduced to the program at my first active duty station of Robbins Air Force Base, Ga., when I was pregnant with my second child,” said Capt. Jessica Prophitt, chaplain at F.E. Warren.  “As a new servicemember, this program helped me better understand services offered to military families, and it was helpful for my husband and I as we transitioned from a family of 3 to a family of 4 when our second son was born.”

Active duty servicemembers often have unique challenges related to deployment and frequent relocation, something which the program addresses.

“Active duty families can lose social support networks due to a permanent change of station,” said Ramirez. “Frequently, spouses report extreme isolation and a lack of support for when the baby is coming and that is one of the primary reasons this program exists.”

For more information on eligibility and program availability, contact Lennea Ramirez at 307-773-6271 and for more general details on the program, click here.