A state grant will soon help parents in Butler county prevent child abuse and strengthen parenting skills... and now, members in the community are putting those skills to work.
The Butler County Board of Education received nearly $82,000 in grant money to fund parent education programs in hope of giving parents the opportunity to become their child's first teacher.
Carol Baker is a mother with two kids. She calls this 15 minutes of learning and bonding with her daughter the most important. Carol spent the last year learning herself... looking for support and information about parenting through Butler County's HIPPY Program. Now, she's not only making a difference in her daughter's life, but she'll be teaching other parents skills to being a positive influence in their child's life.
"It's going to give them self confidence. It can build work skills for them... work readiness skills. They have to show up on time for meetings. They have to be presentable," Said Baker.
HIPPY, which stands for Home Instruction for Parents of Pre-school Youngsters, is one of three parent education programs the Department of Child Abuse and Neglect Prevention has awarded to Butler County.
The nearly $82,000 grant from Alabama's Children's Trust Fund will also be used to give training, tools and certification to start family day cares in the South Alabama area through the Healthy Kids Excel Program.
"Another portion of the grant is called the Community Learning Center Parenting program," Said one of the program coordinators, Matt Coughlan. "And in Greenville High School, we pull all of our teen parents that we have in school and have classes with them once a week to talk about the various parenting issues such as child abuse, nutrition."
All programs state officials say are building blocks to help off-set climbing rates of abuse and neglect.
"Typically, what happens is abuse rates go up during hard economic times... It's vitally important that we, as a prevention agency are able to give these monies to these communities throughout the state," Said Alabama Department of Child Abuse and Neglect Prevention Deputy Director, Greg Smith.
A total of 113 grants were distributed statewide.
For more information on how to apply for these programs, call the Butler County school board at 334-371-2124.