AIA Change Agents

Home | Blog | AIA Change Agents | 2012 | AIA Change Agents – Family Centered Home Visitation Program

AIA Change Agents – Family Centered Home Visitation Program

This post is part of an on-going series called AIA Change Agents where we get to know each of the direct service programs funded by the Children’s Bureau under the AIA Act. In this segment, we sat down to chat with Una Majmudar, Project Coordinator of the Family Centered Home Visitation Program in Philadelphia, PA.

1.Tell us a little about Family Centered Home Visitation Program (FCHVP).

FCHVP provides home visiting services to HIV+ women in Philadelphia who are pregnant and/or parenting children birth to 3.  Our focus is on supporting the caregiver and promoting healthy parent-child relationships.  I would say it’s prevention and promotion of infant and family mental health.

2.  FCHVP prides itself in delivering services through a trauma-informed lens. Can you give us an example of this?

Becoming “trauma-informed” is a difficult and necessary journey for any social service agency. It takes a real commitment from the top down and lots of time and resources spent supporting staff!  Thanks to our great leadership, we are committed to this process. It has not been easy, but we continue on the journey.  The biggest shift in having a trauma-informed lens is switching the question from “What’s wrong with this person?” to “What has happened to this person?” This allows one to come from a more appropriate place of empathy, to join more successfully with the client, and to develop a shared sense of what kind of support is really needed.  Over 75% of our caregivers have severe histories of abuse, and we must take that into account if we want to work on healing and promoting positive parent-child relationships.  We are continually assessing our efforts and making needed changes during this process.

3. Tell us about your clientele.  Is there a particular family that sticks out in your mind?

It’s really hard to think of a particular family.   We are always struggling with the families that are difficult to engage.  Upon meeting them and finding out more about them, it really seems like they could benefit greatly from our support. It’s a hard road when a family is just not ready. On the flip side, we have families that embrace our support and welcome us into their homes over and over again, sharing their most vulnerable selves with us.  That is truly a gift and a testimony to the clients’ strengths and abilities to engage in meaningful relationships.  We know and trust that it pours over into their relationship with their children.

4. What do you find to be the most challenging aspect of this work? What is the most rewarding?

As I mentioned, the hard-to-engage clients are definitely the most challenging.  It’s really hard when you want to provide support, but the client is just not ready on the other end.  However, if we can take time to sit and reflect on what the barriers are, we can sometimes be creative with how we approach things.  For me, the most rewarding aspect is bearing witness to beautiful parent-child relationships. When one is given the opportunity to sit so intimately with a mom and baby and share their delight together, it’s truly a gift that can make your day.  I teach Infant Massage and those home visits are my favorite!!

5. If FCHVP were to have a mascot, what would it be?

Interesting question!  Maybe it would be one of our baby dolls we use dressed as a cheer leader, cheering mom on as she takes care of herself and showing mom how much she matters!!!!  The voice of the baby is powerful. When we can get Mom to really listen to the baby, the results can be amazing!!

6. Question 6 was intentionally left blank. What question were you hoping we’d ask? What would you like to tell us that wasn’t covered?

I’d like to expand on the trauma-informed aspect of our work.  This wonderful work doesn’t happen without having an impact on us as the workers.  Dealing with and facing vicarious and secondary trauma is very real.  We have experienced this first-hand as we introduced trauma screenings into our program.  In addition, we have gained more awareness of the need to expand our Trauma-Informed Lens, facing the challenges of invisible trauma that we all encounter.  All of the “isms” come into play here.  In Philadelphia, we have a very high African-American population and we are embarking on a journey to look at the impact of Historical and Invisible Traumas of all kinds.  As hard as it might be, it’s necessary, and the conversations must happen. We will all be better for it, and it will enrich the services we provide.

One Response to AIA Change Agents – Family Centered Home Visitation Program

  1. Rebekah Lewis says:

    Thank you for sharing about your important work! I really appreciation what you shared about the “trauma informed” lens you work from. I think it’s vital we keep in mind the journey parents have walked on, in order to meet them where they’re at today.
    Keep up the important work!

Leave a Reply

Your email address will not be published. Required fields are marked *