Program Gives Mom the Help She Needs

Domonique Walker is grateful that when it came to her prenatal care, and learning to raise her infant, she had the resources of a successful Prenatal Assistance Program available to help her be a good mother. With the program’s clinical educators and mentors at her side, the 25-year-old from Hammond confidently prepared for her child’s birth and infant care. She has simultaneously managed to remain on track to receive her degree in psychology.

“The Prenatal Assistance Program has been a fantastic partner for me,” the young mother says. “Without it, I would have had to ‘wing it’ through this whole experience.”

Supported in part by the Franciscan Health Foundation’s Prenatal Assistance Fund, the Northern Indiana initiative offers comprehensive prenatal services – medical care; pregnancy education; counseling; peer support; and enhanced access to public assistance programs, community services and local hospital programming – for expectant mothers with limited income. The program has been serving northern Indiana for 20 years, and its reach has expanded to include Lake, Porter, Newton, Jasper and LaPorte counties.

“In a region that has infant mortality rates higher than state and national averages, our multi-disciplinary approach has helped reduce mortality in the communities we serve,” says Danielle Crowder, manager for Community Health Improvement. “Moms in our program learn all about pre-natal care, labor and delivery, breastfeeding, car seat safety and CPR. They receive clinical support and education, access to case workers to help them access community programs, and the opportunity to work with a clinical therapist to look after their mental health.”

A “Baby Depot,” an incentivized baby store, helps clients afford the cost of raising a child with discounts on a wide variety of items for baby care. Program moms can purchase their diapers, baby formula, clothes and many other items and stay within their limited budgets.

“I think one of the best parts of the program is being able to share and get support from other mothers who are in the same situation,” Domonique says. “It helps to know you have a network of people at your back and understand that we’re all in this together. It has helped build my confidence.”

Domonique’s child, Laila, is now five months old and thriving… like her mom (Both Pictured Above).