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Pediatric Social Work (PEDS)
Child Saving Institute’s (CSI) innovative Pediatric Social Work (PEDS) outreach program focuses on preventing child abuse and neglect. The culturally sensitive program provides parenting and child development support. The goal is to improve child, individual, and family functioning.
The program works with two pediatric clinics in the Omaha community that serve high levels of low-income populations — Boys Town Pediatrics and Children’s Physicians at UNMC. During well-child check-ups, a pediatric social worker screens children from birth to age 5 for appropriate social emotional development and attachment. They also screen mothers/caregivers with children under age 1 for depression.
All families who complete the screenings receive an educational consultation. In the consultation, the pediatric social worker empowers parents to be part of their child’s healthy development.
Research shows that healthy families have the following protective factors: parental resilience, social connections, concrete support in times of need, knowledge of parenting and child development, and social and emotional competence of children.
The program identifies early risk factors in young children and their families. Children or parents scoring in the concern range in screenings may opt to receive in-home support at no cost. Staff also helps families to connect with other community resources and programs to help them strengthen their protective factors. Supports may address basic needs like food and clothing, or other needs like mental and physical health.
The program also offers Circle of Security® Parenting™ classes to help parents give their child a feeling of security and confidence to explore and learn, and playgroups to encourage positive parent-child interaction and provide attachment opportunities — both important to a child’s healthy brain development and learning. They also help families create a support network, which lessens the risk of child abuse and neglect.