What is the Health Department’s HANDS program?

Published 11:00 am Friday, April 30, 2021

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HANDS (Health Access Nurturing Development Services) is a program in every community in Kentucky to support parents beginning in a family’s pregnancy lasting through the child’s second birthday.   

HANDS provides resources and tools for parents to support them with parenting. HANDS is an early childhood program that serves families in the Clark County and Powell County. All services are free and voluntary. HANDS provides families with information on having a healthy pregnancy, caring for your child, how to bond with your baby, how to support that child with early experiences in life that supports the child’s lifetime brain development, along with emotional health, and creating safe and healthy homes.

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Research shows that 95% of all brain development happens in the first three years of life. Babies need great support with developing their social and emotional well-being during the first two years of life as our social and emotional health impacts everything else in life from early childhood and school experiences into our adult life.

HANDS gives parents the opportunity to make toys, activities and keepsakes for the baby – all at no cost to the parents/caregivers.

Any parent/caregiver that is expecting a new baby or that has a baby that is less than 90 days old is able to enroll in HANDS. Studies have shown that families enrolled in the HANDS program experience:

• Fewer premature infants

• Fewer low birth weight babies

• Fewer very low birth weight babies

• Fewer developmental delays

Families also have found HANDS supports with topics such as home safety, support systems, discipline techniques, anger management skills, coping skills, and the amount of stress experienced.

Resources for this article can be found on the www.clarkhealthdept.org website.

For more information about the HANDS program in Clark County, contact any HANDS staff person at (859)744-4482.

By: Shaundra L King, HANDS Supervisor