Guest Author - Kris Bigalk
Raising twins is wonderful most of the timeóbut sometimes parents can feel overwhelmed, and need help providing their twins with important necessities such as food, shelter, medical care, quality child care, and early childhood education or support. Here is a list of resources available to twins and parents.
The United Way
The United Way is a wonderful organization, dedicated to improving the lives of families and providing health and educational resources for young children. Whatever your family needs, the United Way can refer you to community resources that will help. To contact the United Way for referrals, dial 2-1-1 on your phone, or visit http://www.211.org/ReferWeb/MainForm.aspx. Other programs sponsored by the United Way that help children and their families include the Born Learning program, an initiative to help parents and caregivers prepare children to succeed in school. The United Way is an excellent first phone call when you have a problem and you don't know where to turn.
Women, Infants and Children
WIC provides support to low-income mothers of children up to age five and their children. This support comes in the form of food vouchers, nutritional education and counseling, and referral to other services if necessary. Eligibility varies by state, family size, and income. To find your state office and eligibility information, go to this website: WIC Contacts.
Insure Kids Now!
This government program links parents with incomes less than $34,100 for a family of four (perhaps more for larger families) to resources in their state so that their children can have low-cost or free health insurance. Call them at 1-877-KIDS-NOW, or visit their website at http://www.insurekidsnow.gov/
Child Care Referral and Subsidy Information
Child Care Aware is a national organization that refers parents to local child care referral and placement agencies, along with information on state-sponsored subsidies for child care, which vary widely in availability and eligibility state by state. For more information, call them at 1-800-424-2246 or visit their website at http://www.acf.hhs.gov/programs/add/addprogram.html
This program to help families afford nutritious food has been around for awhile, so most are familiar with it. For information and to find out if your family qualifies, see this website: http://www.fns.usda.gov/fsp/applicant_recipients/10steps.htm from the US Department of Agriculture.
This website and phone line can help parents who are feeling overwhelmed by the responsibilities and pressures of parenting, and who need emotional support and referrals to help in their communities, including crisis nurseries where the children can be cared for free of charge while the parent gets help. Call 1-800-4-A-CHILD, or visit this website: http://www.childhelp.org/resources/help-for-parents2