E-Community Connect's Parenthood Plus has been piloted in two communities in New York City— Washington Heights in Northern Manhattan and Morrisania in the South Bronx. Altogether 100 families have formally participated in the program.
In Parenthood Plus, each mother was provided three weeks of technology training before a new computer, complete with software, printer and a Web camera, were installed in her home and provided a high speed Internet connection. Once the computers were in place and the mothers became confident of their computer skills, the stage was set for the mothers to utilize the web application with ease and for maximum benefit. Throughout the program, remote desktop and on-site support was provided on an ongoing basis.
The Fund's partner agency in Washington Heights was Alianza Dominicana, the largest Dominican-American human service organization in New York City and in the country. Alianza provides services, ranging from Beacon Schools to day care to job training, to almost 20,000 people a year. Parenthood Plus was associated with Alianza's Best Beginning Primary Prevention Program, which provides prenatal care and health information to expectant mothers and continues supporting them and their families until the children are of school age. With Alianza, the Fund developed the framework of the application as well as the child development and on-line library modules.
The partnership with the Morrisania Neighborhood Family Health Center-WIC (Women, Infant and Children) Program began in 2005. WIC is a federally-funded program that provides nutrition and breastfeeding counseling and education, specific nutritious foods and linkages to health and social services to low-income, nutritionally at-risk pregnant, breastfeeding and postpartum women, infants and children up to the age of five. The Fund worked with the Morrisania WIC Program to create the Breastfeeding module to support and amplify the work of WIC lactation specialists and peer counselors to help first-time mothers and other mothers breastfeed exclusively. It also collaborated with WIC nutritionists to develop the Nutrition module to promote and clarify healthy eating options.