Building strong families through the Nurturing Parenting Program in Wisconsin

As we work to improve the health of children, we often focus on the immediate clinical needs of the family. Do they have their appointments booked? Do they have transportation to get to the appointment? What are the results of tests and is there a need for ongoing clinical engagement?

These are all critical components; however, this is only one part of a larger effort to build stronger, healthier families. 

Supporting strong families requires nurturing the bonds and connections between parents and their children. Our efforts need to look beyond the doctor’s office, which includes creating connections with community-based organizations and developing interventions that help parents navigate parenthood.

UnitedHealthcare Community Plan of Wisconsin is committed to helping build strong, resilient families. To support this effort, our health plan invested $7,500 in Bay View Community Center’s (BVCC) Nurturing Parenting Program which teaches families how to manage stress symptoms.1

BVCC is a non-profit organization which works to strengthen the Southeastern Wisconsin community through a family resource center and food pantry. The family resource center serves more than 240 families with programs including mindfulness classes, support groups for new parents, story time for children, music education and parenting workshops. BVCC’s Nurturing Parenting Program is facilitated by a program manager and includes a curriculum which covers topics such as positive brain development, effective communication, behavior management and nurturing parenting practices.

The program integrates the protective factors framework as a strategic approach to foster optimal child development, reduce the likelihood of child maltreatment and lower the probability of trauma. The framework helps family members develop parental resilience, social connections, knowledge of parenting and child development, concrete support in times of need and social and emotional competence of children.2

UnitedHealthcare Community Plan of Wisconsin’s investment will expand the Nurturing Parenting Program with the provision of:

  • Kits for stress management and regulatory parenting workshops
  • Culturally tailored meal kits for the family bonding nutritional program
  • Grocery gift cards and bus passes for parenting class participants who are experiencing social barrier

"These simple tools are a powerful catalyst for change... I see a brighter, stronger future, and this just the beginning."

The Nurturing Parenting Program aims to improve outcomes for Hispanic communities. With this investment, we will be supporting families served by BVCC by reducing daily stress levels, increasing stress management skills of parents and empowering parents to foster supportive environments for their children. This is done by encouraging bonding through cooking and reading while promoting healthy eating habits for families by providing meal kits and grocery gift cards for those experiencing food insecurity. 

Hispanic families experience food insecurity at a rate that is 2.3 times higher than white households.3 Additionally, 13% more Hispanic families rely on public transportation than white families.4 With these challenges disproportionately affecting Hispanic families, stress management can be essential for familial well-being. By supporting BVCC, we aim to lessen the stress that families may be experiencing.

Parental resilience is defined as the ability to cope with daily stressors. Methods used by the Nurturing Parents Program are supported by research studies which suggest that parental stress predicts the risk of child abuse and parental resilience.5,6 We are excited to collaborate with BVCC which uses an evidenced-based curriculum to address the day-to-day needs of the community. BVCC addresses the needs and challenges of each family in order to empower families and support learning efforts.

Diana Billstrom, Director of Family Learning & Community Engagement, shared this reflection on how the community benefits from the funding:

“I see families transformed. The pizza kit meals we provide are not just to feed the body, but to nourish the soul, sparking joy and unity as families gather around to create their own pizzas and bond over a shared book. The bus vouchers serve as keys to knowledge, opening doors to invaluable parenting classes that promote growth, build a sense of community and provide reassurance that they are not alone in their journey. The sensory kits we offer are not just toys, but empowering tools that aid families with learning self-regulation strategies. Lastly, the grocery gift cards are rays of hope, easing the food insecurity that many families face. Together, these simple tools are powerful catalysts for change, by creating waves of positivity that reach every corner of our community. I see a brighter, stronger future, and this is just the beginning.”

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