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NEWS // August 7, 2015

Home Start Inc.: Strengthening Families and Protecting Children

Ava was 17 when she was referred to Home Start’s First Five First Steps Program, two days after the birth of her son, Steven. Steven was born two months premature and stayed in the neonatal intensive care unit for one month.

Ava was an active participant in her home visits with Home Start’s staff. After four months, Steven showed signs of developmental delays. His Family Support Worker referred him to get further help, and Ava eagerly worked with Home Start to get Steven the assistance he needed.

Steven, now two years old, is meeting all of his developmental milestones. Ava is now in her final year of high school, with plans to graduate and go on to college. She is grateful for the support she has received as a teen parent, which allowed her to meet the needs of her child while progressing with her personal goals.

For nearly 44 years, Home Start Inc. has dedicated their efforts to assure the safety and resiliency of children by strengthening families and their communities. Home Start’s programs and services address the conditions that put children in risky or abusive situations such as poverty, unsafe neighborhoods, lack of affordable housing and unemployment. With a goal for every child in San Diego to live in a safe and nurturing home, Home Start has taken action to build the foundation needed to achieve this goal – transforming families and communities.

 “We want to build resiliency within the communities that these families live, which in turn can help create safe and resilient families,” says Home Start Inc. CEO, Laura Mustari.

As communities play a vital role in society, Home Start is committed to a community-based collaborative effort to reach children and families at risk and prevent child abuse and neglect.

“Children don’t exist in isolation. Communities have a considerable impact on a child,” says Mustari. “That is why it’s important for us to provide the support needed for communities and families to become self-sufficient and thrive within their own home.”

Home Start is the only agency in San Diego to provide Parent Child Interactive Therapy (PCIT) in the home, bringing direct assistance to those in need. PCIT is a treatment for young children with emotional and behavioral disorders that places emphasis on improving the quality of the parent-child relationship and changing parent-child interaction patterns.

“We don’t want anything to get in the way of families receiving the help they need. By providing in-home services, we can help them overcome those barriers,” says Mustari.

A relatively unique approach to strengthening homes and community environments has been Home Start’s Thrift Boutique located in Normal Heights. The boutique is a social enterprise that re-sells high quality clothing and household goods, and is a place where Home Start's Maternity Shelter Program clients can gain valuable work-related skills. Revenue from the Thrift Boutique goes back into Home Start's programs and services.

“The boutique’s slogan is ‘re-purpose for a purpose’. We took great care in creating a natural environment within the space, re-using old wood from the old environment in the new design,” says Mustari. “The boutique really has served its purpose of bringing the community together and helping clients gain valuable skills to build a better future for themselves, their children, and in turn for their communities,”

Home Start Inc. recently joined Live Well San Diego as a recognized partner on June 10, 2015.

“We are very excited about Live Well San Diego and happy to be a part of it,” says Mustari.

To learn more about Home Start Inc. programs and services, visit their website.

Home Start Thrift Boutique Before


Home Start Thrift Boutique After

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