Posted: February 22, 1999
Nearly two dozen California State University, Sacramento nursing students will be helping children with disabilities and those at risk of abuse this semester, through a new partnership with Lekotek Family Resource Center.
The students will join Lekotek professionals for both home visits and playgroup sessions. They'll give basic information about health and nutrition, while learning firsthand the challenges facing both types of families.
"They'll be providing a valuable service and learning to intervene with high risk families, which will be important in their careers," says nursing professor Susan Petersen, who is coordinating the program. Petersen says health care workers who don't understand families with special needs may give unrealistic suggestions, such as a long daily exercise regimen for one child when a single parent is trying to meet the needs of numerous children.
Founded eight years ago, Lekotek serves children with special needs and also those at risk of abuse and neglect in El Dorado, Placer, Sacramento and Yolo counties, focusing on children from birth to age eight.
Last year the organization served more than 700 families, and typically works with 170 families at any one time. Various state agencies refer children with disabilities such as Down Syndrome, autism, Cerebral Palsy, and chronic or terminal conditions, while Child Protective Services refers other families with children at high risk of abuse or neglect.
"We see working with these students as a way of both enhancing our services and improving the quality of family care in the future," says Linda Schwartz, co-director of Lekotek.
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