IT CAN BE hard to decipher your baby’s cries, and that can cause you to doubt your abilities as a parent. In an effort to keep parents from feeling too demoralized by the day-to-day difficulties of parenting, DeAnn Davies, M.S., CLC, C-IPMH, Director of Early Childhood Outreach and Clinical Psychology at Summit Healthcare, brought Healthy Steps to our pediatric program.
Based on a national initiative, Healthy Steps connects parents with Healthy Steps Specialists during child wellness visits to talk about child development and parenting. These specialists are trained to engage with parents about complex topics.
“We are here to build parents’ confidence and competence by highlighting what they are doing well, listening to their stories, and giving them permission to follow their natural parenting instincts,” DeAnn says. “Additionally, we check in on their anxiety level and can provide postpartum support, which often is their primary need.”
Other services offered through Healthy Steps include:
- lactation support
- home visits
- early literacy activities
- playgroup community sessions
DeAnn was the first Healthy Steps Specialist in Arizona and has set up 30 sites at participating hospitals. She’s been with Summit Healthcare for six years and currently leads a four-person team.
“Communities typically invest in children when they start school, but that’s too late,” DeAnn says. “In reality, the first three years are the most critical in securing the best outcomes for our children.”