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Parenting Network adjusting well to reach clients

Slowly but surely the Parenting Network is getting closer to its “new normal” by adjusting to the continuing impact of the COVID-19 pandemic.

“We are now doing in-person appointments 50 percent of the time,” said FYI Executive Director Nikki Stefanow. “We are also allowing children who are contained in a car seat or stroller to come along for the in-person appointments.” 

The Parenting Network is also doing group classes, but they are all held virtually through Zoom (video conferencing).

“That’s new for us, and our team has gotten really good at doing these,” Stefanow said. “The clients are responding very well to the group classes. Sometimes we are getting better attendance than we were for the live classes. And childcare is no longer an issue for them if we are doing Zoom classes.”

All of this has enabled the Parenting Network to offer different, and in some cases better, ways to stay connected with the young families they serve.

“In-person will always be the best way,” Stefanow said. “But it has allowed us to give better access to our clients who aren’t able to leave their home. We’ve had a few who have had a COVID scare, maybe in their family or from work.”

It also helps us to be there for them during a very challenging time for young families.

“Right now, there is a lot of tension and stress,” Stefanow said. “You’re already stressed out and may not be in a good financial situation, or may be in a bad relationship, or may have the support you need, or lost your job because of COVID. Now you are isolated. When they can’t access us when they need us the most, and we might be their last line of defense to help them, where does that lead them to? Destructive things like drugs, alcohol, unhealthy relationships, and child abuse.”

The Parenting Network staff is also focusing on training during this time. All six members recently took an intensive, four-day car seat safety training class from Safe Kids and Dayton Children's Hospital at FYI’s home office. Now employees are nationally certified child passenger safety technicians. This allows them to conduct child car seat safety checks and offer hands-on assistance in the proper use of all kids restraint systems and seat belts.

If you need assistance, want to get a car seat checked or are interested in helping with the Parenting Network, call (937) 845-0403 or email

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