From left: Sinane Goulet, Mayra Arciga with her son Iker, and Marsha Baker.
Photo by Nick Drew
The pair, who are now focusing their energy on training staff at Healthy Families Illinois, spent the last year transitioning the care of Fussy Baby Latina’s family support group to several community organizations.
Together, the groups created a smooth transition for the families at St. Agnes and even expanded the offered services.
“We were really fortunate,” says Baker. “We found some great organizations and professionals who were looking to work deep within this community.”
Fussy Baby broadens its reach
Fussy Baby Latina was started in 2007 to support Chicago’s Latino families, particularly those who had recently immigrated. A weekly drop-in group at St. Agnes of Bohemia Church served as a place for parents to find social supports and a safe environment in which their children could play.
Goulet, a licensed clinical social worker, and Baker, an occupational therapist, provided information and informal assessments for the group’s families whose children had developmental concerns.
However, to make the St. Agnes group truly effective and sustainable in the long run, the Fussy Baby Latina team knew it had to be owned and operated by its community.
Over the last five years at St. Agnes, Goulet and Baker partnered with community organizations, including staff from St. Anthony Hospital’s community wellness programs and Our Lady of Tepeyac parish’s Taller de Jose, a program that provides a highly personalized and nurturing case management service. The last year has been dedicated to transferring the facilitation of the group to these organizations, which can also provide direct services to the families.
In addition, partnerships were forged with a local early intervention provider who has referred clients to the drop-in group and a neighborhood grocery store that donates free snacks each week.
In recent years, the nationwide Fussy Baby Network has begun to expand its impact by infusing the Fussy Baby approach into existing home visiting programs. In support of this, Goulet and Baker will help train Healthy Families Illinois’s home-visiting staff, sharing their experience in working with immigrant families.