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Story in Brief

The Maternal, Infant, and Early Childhood Home Visiting (MIECHV) Program gives pregnant women and families, particularly those considered at-risk, necessary resources and skills to raise children who are physically, socially, and emotionally healthy and ready to learn. The home visiting program in Muscogee County serves English speaking and Hispanic families. Due to the COVID-19 pandemic, home visitors were no longer able to visit families on a weekly basis in their homes to offer support to the families. During this pandemic, family participated virtually or by phone in their regular home visitation session. Packets were delivered without contact by program managers or were mailed to all enrolled families. Monthly family meetings were replaced by virtual “Family Portraits” where parents could share pictures of their interactive activities learned during virtual home visit sessions on the UGA Extension Facebook page. Healthy Families Columbus focused on the benefits of encouraging parents to teach children about who belongs in their family, their relationships and giving insight into creating feelings of belonging. Staff provided tips on summer safety amid pandemic and continuous support normalizing fears and anxiety while coping through COVID-19 pandemic. The home visiting team successfully completed 758 visits since the start of teleworking in March and completed 228 developmental screenings using a virtual platform. The home visits have impacted the families by giving them the support to release anxiety because there has been a disconnect with other programs and services in the community. One client said, “My [home visitor]has helped me understand my child and his development which has decreased my anxiety to allow me to be a better parent.”