Families' experiences with Oregon Healthy Start Public Deposited

http://ir.library.oregonstate.edu/concern/graduate_thesis_or_dissertations/5t34sn13n

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  • This study utilized a qualitative approach to explore how Healthy Start home visiting services affect participants' parenting and lives in general. The purpose of this study was to explore both the intended and unintended outcomes of Healthy Start, using the theory of transformative learning. This theory postulates that through education individuals examine their thoughts, beliefs, and behaviors. This self-examination results in changes in self-perception that can impact lives in many unexpected ways. Through interviews with 20 families, who had participated in Healthy Start for at least 6 months, families reported both anticipated and unanticipated changes in their lives. It was found that Healthy Start influences a variety of positive outcomes for families. Previous quantitative findings were supported. According to the parents interviewed, Healthy Start is achieving its intended outcomes and goals. Parents reported greater ability to access health care services, improvements in their home learning environment, and improved interactions with their child. Parents also indicated increased knowledge of child development and community resources. Findings also provided support for the occurrence of transformative learning. Interviewed parents indicated that their involvement with Healthy Start impacted more than just their parenting. Through a supportive relationship and goal setting, the participants were able to reach beyond basic parent education. The interviews suggest that the mechanism for transformative learning lies in the supportive, non-threatening relationship that develops between parent and home visitor. This supportive relationship, in addition to guided goals setting, enhances a parent's feelings of self-efficacy and increases their ability to make life changes and persist in the face of challenges. Parents reported improved relationships with others, increased feelings of confidence, and the ability to accomplish otherwise unattainable things.
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