Every grand journey should have an expert guide – someone to encourage you, lift you and support you to reach your goal.

Parenting is no different. There will be challenges and self-doubt, but with strength and guidance, it is truly one of life’s most rewarding adventures.

For many parents, guides are built into your support system. They’re family members, loved ones and trusted doctors. But what about the parents or soon-to-be-parents that don’t have a strong foundation of support?

They find it with Children’s Home Society of Florida, where we’ve been encouraging, supporting and empowering families for more than a century.

The truth is, families in our community face tough challenges.

Parents are becoming overworked, overwhelmed and exhausted trying to juggle the day-to-day, and I understand why. Between health care, child care and self-care, it can be difficult to navigate what is best for your family. Without support, it’s even harder.

But there’s another danger that lurks with parental exhaustion: co-sleeping. Sometimes, new parents are so tired that they fall asleep with their newborns because they are simply exhausted by the vastly changing schedule, physical demands and newness to the added responsibilities. Other times, moms and dads crave the comfort that can come through cuddling their baby as they drift into sleep, all the while never intending to bring harm.

But this can be deadly.

In 2017, nearly 18% of Florida’s suffocation infant deaths happened here in Duval County. 

Children’s Home Society of Florida is determined to protect more families from enduring this agony, and we have several programs designed to help children grow up in safe, strong, healthy homes.

One such program, Healthy Start, teaches parents to remember their ABCs of Safe Sleep:

The safest way for babies to sleep is Alone, on their Backs, in empty Cribs.

CHS believes parents are stronger than the statistics. Through education and encouragement, our teams empower parents to safely welcome and care for their little ones – by creating healthy environments for baby before, during and after pregnancy.

As a child’s needs grow and change with their development, so do the needs of the entire family – financially, emotionally and supportively. From prenatal nutrition to childcare and school readiness, Children’s Home Society of Florida is here every step of the way.

We also believe that the greatest success comes when our entire community bands together to help more kids and families succeed. In Northeast Florida, we’re thankful to have wonderful resources to help build strong families.

We want parents to know that they are not alone.

Over the past year, more than 4,000 families have found support and success with CHS’ Healthy Start and Early Head Start teams. But we know more families still need us. If you or someone you know could benefit from a trusted mentor and parenting support through proven programs, please contact us at 493-7744. We’d love to partner with you.