NEW MEXICO: Tiwa Babies Home Visiting Program
Tiwa Babies is a home visiting program serving pregnant women and families with children under the age of five in Taos Pueblo and Taos County, New Mexico. This program seeks to “promote optimal child and family development, healthy lifestyles, and strong connections to family, community, culture, and tradition” and “preservation of and participation in traditional cultural activities.” The paraprofessionals who serve as the front line of Tiwa Babies are trained in Family Spirit, an evidence-based, culturally-tailored home visiting program developed by the Johns Hopkins Center for American Indian Health. The center works with tribes to adapt Family Spirit to the needs of their culture and communities. Although Family Spirit was not created and is not marketed as a suicide prevention program, it has had a proven impact on risk and protective factors for suicide, such as parental involvement and emotional and behavioral problems of both mothers and children. Family Spirit is an example of upstream prevention—a strategy that prevents the onset of risk factors (e.g., substance abuse) and enhances protective factors (e.g., parenting skills) for suicidal behaviors well before the suicidal behaviors have an opportunity to develop. In addition to its home visiting program, Tiwa Babies offers child development screenings, cooking classes that promote healthy eating, Circle of Security parenting classes, and other services and resources for parents and caregivers of children under the age of five.