Meeting families where they are

Susan came to the United States from the Marshall Islands in 2006 fleeing an abusive relationship. She started her new life in Hawaii where she met her current husband, Peter, and they had a baby boy. 

In 2009, they came to Washington state. Everything changed for the family in 2013 when Susan’s niece gave birth to Georgie and the couple decided to adopt him. 

By the time Georgie was two, he still was not speaking, and Susan was struggling outside the home because of her limited English skills.

The family was connected to Children’s Home Society of Washington’s Parent-Child Home Program (PCHP) where home visitors help children become ready for kindergarten and work with parents to grow skills to nurture their children. 

The program currently serves 232 families thanks to support from the United Way of King County. However, United Way of King County has announced it will implement planned funding cuts for the program despite overwhelming success. Private support is needed to help bridge the gap so families like Susan, Peter and Georgie can still benefit.

To create a stronger impact, PCHP tries to connect families with home visitors that are culturally and linguistically matched to the family’s needs. Susan was assigned a home visitor of a similar background and language who supported her as she tried to improve her English language skills. Now, she wants to earn her GED.

Georgie is now talking and knows the names of animals and foods. The books provided by PCHP have helped both parents and child with their English language skills. “Georgie likes books more now and will bring them to his dad and I to read to him,” Susan said. “He pays attention to the story and points to what he likes.”

Susan and Peter believe that the visits with their home visitor have brought their family closer together. “I would tell my friends it is a great program that helped my whole family and they will learn a lot,” Susan said.