First Steps was formed by Goldsboro Pediatrics in partnership with members of the community to nurture and monitor the growth and development of families in need. Organized in the 1990s, the program was enacted to prevent child abuse and neglect in Wayne County. Dr. David Tayloe, Jr., MD, serves as the President of the Consortium for First Steps and was instrumental in enacting the program in Wayne County. Other members of the consortium are leaders from various other Wayne County organizations, including the Health Department, the Department of Social Services, and the NC Cooperative Extension, as well as leaders from churches and public schools.
Nurses at Wayne Memorial Hospital and other First Steps staff have one on one sessions with the families of newborn children to talk with them and create an awareness of the resources available in our community. The program aspires to get members involved in the voluntary program in the early days and weeks of their child’s life. These children and their families are involved in First Steps until the child reaches kindergarten age, when, optimistically, the child will begin school with the support of a healthy, involved family.
First Steps largely takes place at WAGES, (Wayne County’s Action Group for Economic Solvency), and with WAGES social workers. The program operates from a multi-faceted approach geared at improving the lives and overall well being of the participating children and families. First Steps aims to strengthen the family structure so that its members are happier and healthier. Families have access to a social worker and/or a case manager who engages them in activities and provides them with resources that will improve their relationships and home life. One of these resources is the link to mental and physical health services, of which Goldsboro Pediatrics is proud to take part in and provide to these families and their children.
As a part of its comprehensive approach, First Steps not only provides support services for the family unit as a whole, but for the child and the parent(s) individually. Parents are taught about positive interaction with their child and are connected with other parents in similar situations through a support network. With the direction of their social worker, parents are taught to nurture the bond between themselves and their children, as well as to recognize the importance of fostering their child’s development through the use of various activities. The children involved in First Steps, like their parents, have access to learn from a group of their peers. First Steps children are often involved in play dates with others and are engaged in developmental activities during their weekly visits from a social worker.
Currently, in Wayne County, there are 78 families involved in the First Steps program. Of the past and current participants, 100% have received all the necessary “well” child visits, and are up-to-date on immunizations and vaccinations. Further, an overwhelming 98% percent of enrolled families show no signs or evidence of child abuse or neglect.
For more information, please contact Melissa Murray at (919) 734-1178 ext. 221