Dare To Care For Children
The Children of Today are our Future of Tomorrow
Family Support Network of Southeastern North Carolina, Inc.
Serving families since 1985 through a network of affiliated local programs.
The mission of Family support Network of Southeastern NC (FSN-SeNC) is to provide parents of children with special needs emotional and educational support, assistance accessing community services and promote family centered practices.
The FSN-SeNC Neonatal Intensive Care (NCIU) program works with Coastal AHC to address the developmental and family needs of the approximately 550 babies each year that begin their life in the NCIU at New Hanover Regional Medical Center (NHRMC) located in Wilmington, North Carolina. When construction on the Women's and Children's Pavilion is completed at the hospital in 2008, the infants and families served by the NCIU and Pediatric Intensive Care Unit (PICU) will most likely double in number.
Coastal AHEC in one of nine AHEC's under North Carolina statewide AHEC program that provides Physicians and a Developmental Psychologists to staff the NCI. FSN-SeNC is one of the eight local programs providing emotional support, education and resource information to parents of the babies in the NCIU. The area we serve in unique, being mostly rural but full of diversity. The NCIU at NHRMC is a level III unit, and serves as the regional referral center for the smallest and most critically ill babies from a very large area of Southeastern North Carolina.
Recent literature reviews show that children from NCIU are at the highest risk for developmental delay, chronic illness, infant mortality, family chaos, abuse and neglect. As compared to overall North Carolina averages, the counties predominately served by our hospital (Bladen, Brunswick, Columbus, Duplin, New Hanover, Onslow and Pender) have significantly higher percentage of children living in poverty and receiving government assistance. The stress that results from living in poverty make if difficult for parents to engage in positive, nurturing interactions that facilitate children's optimal development. North Carolina ranks 44th in the nation in infant mortality ( a ranking of 1 is considered the best), with preterm birth being one of the leading causes of death. According to research, the presence of social networks that are extensive and supportive has been linked to adaptive parenting in many ways. Supportive social networks have been found to reduce stress by serving as a buffer against threatening events, influencing the coping strategies of parents, and providing emotional support. The presence of supportive environments improved parents general dispositions, assist them in feeling less overwhelmed by parenting tasks, and allows them to have additional tangible and intangible resources from which to draw information.
The goal of this project is to provide each parent whose baby is in the NCIU one-to-one
support from a trained support parent who has had the same similar experience. Since they have "walked in the shoes" of the NCIU parents, they provide a level of social support that even the best trained medical and social work staff can't provide.
Currently, FSN-SeNC provides a little more than one full-time employee position at NHRMC to meet randomly with parents in the NCIU. We provide parents with information on how to navigate the hospital, understanding the NCIU and what is happening, help parents to define medical jargon, understand who they can go to in order to get their questions answered, understand the NCIU rules and procedures, general information and resources within and without hospital. We provide support group meetings at least three times a month (weekly when funding available). In the past, we have provided meals for parents attending the meetings, parent stipends such as Wal-Mart or Kmart gift cards,($10 to $20), long distance phone cards, gasoline cards, various baby products. Parent pamphlets about NCIU, books and print resource.
Without your donations these programs would not be available to our communities. Please help by sponsoring this annual event so we can keep reaching out to these children and families. We greatly appreciate all your help!