In the stress-filled world we live in, particularly now amidst the coronavirus pandemic, worries and frustration can easily bubble into lost tempers—and small children, stuck at home with overburdened parents, can bear the brunt of those harsh words and actions.
But it’s never OK to hurt a child, mentally or physically. “Parenting young children is an incredibly demanding job, even under the best of circumstances. When families experience adversity, the risk of abuse increases. United Way of Metropolitan Dallas’ H.O.P.E.S.—Healthy Outcomes Through Prevention and Early Support—program aims to provide support and education services for families.
“Child abuse and neglect should never be tolerated, and they’re not inevitable, no matter a family’s circumstances, said Susan Hoff, Chief Strategy and Impact Officer at United Way. “We are committed to helping parents navigate through challenges, to ensure that all children have the opportunity to grow up in a safe, loving and nurturing environment.”
H.O.P.E.S. exceptionally lines up with all three of United Way Dallas’ focus areas—education, as it trains parents to be their children’s first teachers; income, as it relates to supporting parents through resources/referrals and working with agencies to provide basic-needs support to help eliminate stressors and other factors that may prevent parents from working; and health, in its primary goal of keeping children safe from harm.
The program launched in 2016, with help from an annual $1.7 million grant to United Way from the Texas Department of Health and Human Services, one of the largest grants to United Way Dallas to date. In partnership with TexProtects (the Texas Association for the Protection of Children) and other nonprofits, Dallas County H.O.P.E.S. gives critical support and assistance to families to reduce incidences of abuse and neglect.
“The services that are rendered through the H.O.P.E.S. program are essential to the families in Dallas County,” said LaTasha Splane, H.O.P.E.S. Senior Manager at United Way of Metroplitan Dallas. “They provide families with the necessary parenting skills, resources, and support that they need to build and sustain thriving, healthy, and safe environments.”
H.O.P.E.S. is supported by AVANCE-Dallas, ChildCareGroup, Family Care Connection, Family Compass, Lumin Education, Parkland Injury Prevention Center and Parkland Health & Hospital System Nurse Family Partnership.
Progress and outcome evaluation are led by the Institute for Urban Policy Research at the University of Texas at Dallas. Service providers have met and continue to meet their projected goals for families served. The program overall continues to meet the children remaining safe outcome as well as outcomes related to overall family support. Child abuse incidents remain high in Dallas County and the program will continue to address this important issue within the community.