Catholic Charities

Better Beginnings

The Better Beginnings program is a specialized parent/child therapy program serving parents diagnosed with chronic mental health problems who are experiencing difficulties parenting their children five years old and under. Home-based services aim at engaging chaotic and traumatized parents who previously have not successfully participated in mental health treatment. Since 1987, this program has provided evidence-based individual and family therapy in conjunction with child development and parent education. Program goals include fostering improved day-to-day parent functioning and more consistent and positive parenting (bonding, decreasing the likelihood of child trauma and mental illness, and preventing foster care and adult hospitalization).

Health Teens/Healthy Babies

The objective of the Healthy Teens/Healthy Babies program is to ensure young women enroll in pre-natal care, get mental health support if needed, and raise their infant in a safe, healthy, and nurturing environment. The program provides a continuum of evidence-based services that are wrapped around the 32-year-old Lullaby League course. Pregnant adolescents and young women living in the city of Syracuse participate in the Lullaby League four-week birthing and infant care education course, as well as pregnancy case management before and after birth. A support group and parenting course are also available to new mothers and their babies.

Parent Education

The Parent Education program provides a continuum of home-visiting services (i.e., Parent Aide) and curriculum-based instruction to parents whose children are at risk of or have been placed in foster care due to abuse and neglect. Using evidence-based curriculum in both the home and classroom, program staff teaches parenting and living skills. Parents learn about child development, age-appropriate expectations, appropriate disciplinary practices, and how to maintain a safe environment. They are also linked to natural community resources to reduce isolation. The objective is to increase the parents’ mastery so they can create an environment where children are safe, nurtured, and achieve physical and emotional well-being.