Great Beginnings is one of 21 OKDHS Start Right programs across the state, helping to reach over 2,400 children in 40 Oklahoma counties each year. Each Start Right program is independent with its own name and staff.
Great Beginnings is a voluntary, free of charge, home visiting parent education program that provides-
- Screenings and Assessments to identify a family’s strengths and needs
- Intensive Home Visitation services using the nationally recognized Healthy Families America® home visiting model so families can interact with a Family Support Worker in the comfort of the family home
- Prenatal Education, Positive Parent-Child Interaction Activities and Child Development Education using the Parents as Teachers® curriculum promoting bonding and healthy brain development
- Child Development Screenings using the Ages and Stages Questionnaire and the Ages and Stages Social Emotional Questionnaire screening for possible delays and making appropriate referrals to services as needed
- Referrals to social services for issues related to mental health, domestic violence or substance abuse as needed
- Referrals and Information to community resources such as Medicaid, food banks, quality childcare, high school diploma, GED and higher education opportunities, job training, immunizations, etc.
Great Beginnings enrolls pregnant women and families with children up to one year old who are at moderate to high risk for abuse & neglect due to circumstances such as teen mother, single head of household, unemployment, lack of support system, poverty. Families can stay in the program up until the child’s 6th birthday; average length of stay in the program is 12-36 months.
Family Support Workers are Bachelor’s Degrees or higher trained staff with degrees and experience in child development, psychology, family relations, and early childhood education. Ongoing training is provided in a broad range of program related topics designed to enhance the family support workers’ knowledge and competency level. Training continues to develop as risk factors and family issues change.
Funding: Great Beginnings is funded through the Oklahoma State Department of Health Office of Child Abuse Prevention. The Office of Child Abuse Prevention was created in 1984 by the Oklahoma Child Abuse Prevention Act, Title 63, O.S., Section 1-227. The act declared that the prevention of child abuse and neglect was a priority in Oklahoma. In accordance with the Act, OCAP was place within the Oklahoma State Department of Health to emphasize prevention as the focus rather than “after-the-fact intervention.”