St. Joseph's Baby Corner Programs
Among the many local organizations, agencies, and clinics supported by the Baby Corner are:
- Swedish Medical Center, First Hill
- Women, Infants, and Children (WIC) clinics
- Sea Mar Community Health Center, South Park
- Community Psychiatric Clinic
- International Community Health Services, I.D. and Holly Park clinics
- Parent-Child Assistance Program–UW
- Brettler Family Place
- Broadview Emergency Shelter
- Jewish Family Service
- St. Vincent de Paul parish conferences
- St. Mary's Food Bank
- Washington State Department of Social and Health Services (DSHS)
- JourneyHome (formerly Solid Ground program)
The goals of the Baby Corner are:
- to help "plug the gap" in public assistance programs, as explained above, and
- to respond immediately to families in crisis.
The Baby Corner routinely provides backpacks filled with necessities for women fleeing domestic violence with their young children, it has secured special equipment for babies with disabilities or medical conditions, and it has provided vouchers for young families with no food. The Baby Corner has also coordinated resources for grieving families who suddenly lose their babies.
The Baby Corner is a small nonprofit, so it does not have separate programs and services that operate under a corporate umbrella. Several years ago, however, the Baby Corner recognized that two vital safety items--car seats and portable cribs-- were in such great demand that in-kind donations would not meet the need. As funds allow, therefore, the Baby Corner purchases these items at a discount and distributes them free of charge (other car seat programs charge a fee).
Recent Successes and Current Challenges
Every year, the Baby Corner's services result in positive medical, social, and safety outcomes for babies and toddlers living in poverty. Service providers often report back about the positive, stabilizing effect these services have on parents/guardians of these young children.
In one case, a nurse making a home visit discovered 3-year-old twin girls who were severely underweight and small for their age. When the girls were removed to the care of their grandparents, the Baby Corner provided clothing, shampoo, toothbrushes, fleece blankets, and car seats, among other necessities, as well as toys and books. To help the grandparents begin caring for the toddlers, the Baby Corner also provided laundry detergent, dish detergent, and a voucher to buy appropriate food.
Six months later, when the nurse returned to the Baby Corner for larger clothes and more books and developmental toys, she said, "You wouldn't believe these are the same two kids!" Because of her intervention, the Baby Corner's help, and the grandparents' commitment, the twins were ready to be enrolled on time in a local Head Start program.
The Baby Corner's greatest challenge in the near future is finding a permanent space that can accommodate both inventory and office so that we can continue to serve young families in need in our community. In addition, the Baby Corner recognizes the need for technology upgrades in order to enhance our connection with the community.
There is the ongoing challenge to fund high-demand health and safety items, including baby hygiene products, car seats, and portacribs.