How do I know when my child has outgrown his car seat? Which household cleaning products are safe to use around my kids? What childcare options are available to me while I’m job hunting?
These are questions that all parents struggle to answer from time to time. But for mothers with young children living in emergency transitional housing and coping with the trauma of domestic violence, finding answers to some of life’s everyday parenting questions can often feel overwhelming—if not impossible.
Residents of Solid Ground’s Broadview Emergency Shelter recently found the answers to some of these questions, as well as many more, when representatives from several local health, legal, environmental and children’s organizations gathered at the shelter last week for a Baby Boost Information Fair.
Baby Boost Information Fairs are “one-stop shops” that give parents—many of whom are facing hunger, homelessness or abuse—opportunities to connect one-on-one with dozens of service providers and free community resources for their children. Solid Ground’s Food Security for Children program partners with local food banks, community centers, transitional housing shelters and substance abuse treatment centers to put on about 10 Baby Boost Fairs each year.
Last week, Broadview residents were able to connect with representatives from the Environmental Coalition of South Seattle, Legal Voice, King County Public Health, Washington State Safety Restraint Coalition, Child Care Resources and Lettuce Link and learn more about programs and services available to them.
One Broadview mother came to the fair to find out when she should move her 2 ½-year-old son out of his car seat and into a booster seat. Another young mother was thrilled to learn about safe alternatives to harmful cleansers and detergents she had been using around her daughter. Another mom left with a new packet of cucumber seeds for the garden that she and some other residents have started out back.
Callista Kennedy, outreach specialist for King County Public Health, has been a presenter at five Baby Boost Fairs. She thinks the fairs are a great opportunity to make initial connections with families and put a face to the services offered.
“A lot of women here are in transition, so they may not need us at this exact moment,” she said. “But when their circumstances change, that’s when they remember us. We’ve already made the connection. The Baby Boost Fairs let them know we’re here when they’re ready for us.”