Reaching Isolated New Mothers: Insights From a Home Visiting Program Using Paraprofessionals*
The Visiting Moms Program delivers a relationship-based home visiting intervention in which volunteers address challenges faced by at-risk new mothers and families. For new mothers experiencing isolation, anxiety about parenting, lack of support, or limited resources, this program offers a volunteer, who is a mother herself, in the role of a mentor mother to connect the new mother to resources, listen without judgment, and strengthen parenting abilities. Less stress for the mother and improved care for the infant are major program goals. Relational theories and studies on home visiting interventions are used as lenses for viewing this type of intervention. Vignettes are included to deepen our understanding of the mechanisms through which the new mothers change. Clinicians, program planners, and administrators are likely to find this article helpful in its coverage of the literature on volunteers and home-based services, its description of the relational intervention provided by one home visiting program using volunteers, and its recommendations for ways in which others can design such programs.
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