New Parent Support Program Strengthens Team Moody

  • Published
  • By Airman 1st Class Rachel Perkinson
  • 23rd Wing Public Affairs

As the new year begins, the 23rd Medical Group continues to support parents of Moody AFB with the New-Parent Support Program.

The support program consists of the New Parent’s Orientation, Airmen’s Angels Support Group, and Postpartum Support Group with the hopes of better equipping parents with the tools needed to safely and successfully care for their children.

“The purpose of the program is to prevent child maltreatment,” said Lakeatta Tonge, 23rd Medical Group New Parent Support Program coordinator. “I educate, encourage and provide support to all new parents, from pregnancy all the way to the child’s third birthday, since plenty of studies have shown that the majority of maltreatment happens from birth to three years old.”

Each class is tailored to meet specific needs of families and single parents.

As the name suggests, the New Parent’s Orientation is a class for any and all new parents that may have questions or concerns about adjusting to the changes that comes along with pregnancy, birth and home care.

“This class is about giving families the information about how to take care of themselves during pregnancy, what to expect during and after labor, how to manage discomforts and any other worries,” Tonge said. “I’m also there to explain the process of the paperwork side of things. I’m really the go-to person to help in those situations as well.”

Not only does the New Parent Support Program provide support for new parents, but also for those who have endured the loss of a child.

In 2018, Tonge recognized the need for a support system for individuals grieving the tragedy of child loss, leading to what is now known as Airmen’s Angels Support Group.

“When I was an active-duty nurse, I noticed there weren’t any support groups for those who have lost their baby,” Tonge recalled. “I submitted my idea to Spark Tank and won, and from there I started running Airmen’s Angels and hired training for about 23 personnel across the installation to support these families.”
While having a newborn may come with its own set of challenges, the first year of parenthood can also can contribute to many unexpected feelings and emotions. For this reason, the Postpartum Support Group is designed specifically to help those facing hardships that may come with postpartum.

“I really focus on the first year – from birth to the baby’s first birthday, which is a huge deal,” Tonge said. “I make sure our moms when discharged from the delivery hospital, are healthy, and that’s so important, because the first year is the most common time for postpartum to affect mothers, and even fathers as well.”

In addition to the several classes offered by the New Parent Support Program, the Exceptional Family Member Program is an additional resource here at Moody for families.

“I work with families with special, medical and educational needs,” said Windy Scott, 23rd Force Support Squadron EFMP family support coordinator. “When I’m doing an assessment and I see the family has younger children in the critical age group, I always try to connect them with the New Parent Support Program.”

The importance of the partnership with the Medical Group, Family Advocacy, Airmen Family Readiness Center, EFMP and the New Parent Support Group is invaluable, Scott explained.

“We all know what each unit can provide,” Scott said. “We can then refer families to different support groups and agencies so they can get the proper support and care.”

This program holds monthly and quarterly classes in open forums for all DoD beneficiaries.

The Postpartum Support Group is held every last Friday of each quarter.

The New Parent’s Orientation is held on the first Friday of every month

The Airmen’s Angels Support Group is the first Wednesday of each quarter.

For more information on the classes, contact a first sergeant, EFMP, AFRC, the 23rd Medical Group, Family Advocacy, or Lakeatta Tonge, the New Parent Support Nurse.