The Early Childhood Coalition works to ensure all young children are safe, healthy, and ready for school. We are a group of providers, policymakers, government leaders, experts, parents, and philanthropists supported by Bastrop County Cares, which provides backbone support. Our common vision is that ALL families in Bastrop County are connected to their community and provide a safe, healthy, and school–ready environment for their children. One of the ways the Early Childhood Coalition works to achieve that goal is through a partnership with the Lone Star Circle of Care Family Connects program, funded by The Texas Department of Family & Protective Services and Lone Star Circle of Care.
The first few weeks after a baby is born can be overwhelming and exhausting for parents, whether the child is their first or they have had more than one child. Lone Star Circle of Care’s (LSCC) Family Connects program supports Bastrop County newborns and their families by creating connections between the family, a specially trained nurse, and community resources. This connection takes place during either in-home visits or telehealth calls. Using an evidence-based approach, the Family Connects program is committed to strengthening the continuum of care and improving health outcomes for mothers and their babies.
Celeste Wadlow, RN Lead with LSCC, gives a glimpse into what a typical visit looks like for families of newborns. When the baby is approximately three weeks old, a program-trained Registered Nurse will visit the home to offer support and guidance to the mother and baby, check to see if there are any health concerns for either mom or baby, and ensure things are going well during this time of transition.
“It was really helpful all the resources she provided me with. I have been able to access diaper supports from 3 different places in the area”. – Family Connects parent
While there, Celeste says the nurse will go over common challenges and concerns new parents face. “We cover such areas as postpartum depression, childcare options, bottle/breastfeeding, safe sleep, shaken baby syndrome, tummy time, car seat use, and any financial or relationship concerns.” If mom or baby is in need of additional support in any of these areas, the nurse will work with the family to identify and connect with local resources. For instance, if mom is struggling with breastfeeding, the nurse might connect her with a local breastfeeding support group. The nurse can help schedule 6-week postpartum visits or baby well-checks. Depending on the family’s situation, the nurse might also help with checking on or finding medical coverage.
“I enjoyed that she covered all the bases, not just for the baby, but for me as well. She was very helpful and caring. I really liked that she called to check up on us a few times after my initial appointment with her.” – Family Connects parent
The immediate postpartum time period can be a blur, and Celeste says many families are surprised during their visit because they end up having questions or need support with something that they did not initially realize.
“Everything was great and unexpected. I appreciated it. She was really sweet and encouraging. As a first-time mom that was really special and important.” – Family Connects parent
Family Connects visits are very comprehensive and families generally gain a wealth of knowledge, even if it’s not their first baby. Even after home visits are complete, mother and baby are still able to access an updated list of available local resources through the Bastrop County Cares Resource Directory and FindHelp.org.
Having been a Registered Nurse for 20 years, Celeste is passionate about the work she does with LSCC and the Family Connects program because of her own personal experiences. “I really wish Family Connects was around when I had my kiddos…I felt isolated and had so many questions and didn’t know where to turn,” she said. “Being able to meet families where they are and provide support, answer questions, and identify areas where we can help is a great feeling.” She also enjoys being part of something that promotes healthy child development and has positive impacts on local families and the community.
“Bastrop County has many wonderful resources and agencies that work together well with the intent to help support our community. As a result, we have developed a wonderful network of connections that we can access for family needs…We never hesitate to make a phone call on behalf of our families.”
When asked about her team and mission, Celeste states, “We are fortunate enough to have a great team of nurses with diverse backgrounds and experience, all who are committed to supporting our Bastrop families. Additionally, all of our nurses are mamas, too, and can relate to how wonderful parenting is and also understand that introducing a new child in the home is joyous but can be stressful at times, too.”
Family Connects visits give parents the confidence that they have access to what they need to raise a healthy and happy child.
All nurses that are part of Family Connects are highly trained and are encouraged to continue their education, working towards certification in lactation and postpartum mental health.
Every newborn that resides in Bastrop County is eligible for a free Family Connects visit. To schedule a Family Connects visit, click here or call 512-308-3913.
This project is supported by the Health Resources and Services Administration (HRSA) of the U.S. Department of Health and Human Services (HHS) under grant number and title for grant amount (specify grant number, title, total award amount and percentage financed with nongovernmental sources). This information or content and conclusions are those of the author and should not be construed as the official position or policy of, nor should any endorsements be inferred by HRSA, HHS or the U.S. Government.
“I would recommend this program to other moms. It was super helpful for me.” – Family Connects parent