Family Services

First Steps Early Intervention

Indiana's First Steps System is a family-centered, locally based coordinated system that provides early intervention services and support to infants and young children with disabilities or who are developmentally delayed. First Steps is a program of the Bureau of Child Development Services of Indiana's Family and Social Services Administration (FSSA) and is administered locally by Blue River Services.

Families who are eligible to participate in Indiana's First Steps System include children, ages birth to three years who are experiencing developmental delays or have a diagnosed condition that has a high probability of resulting in a developmental delay.

Blue River serves as the System Point of Entry (SPOE) for 2 Clusters covering 26 counties in Indiana: Clark, Clay, Crawford, Daviess, Dubois, Floyd, Gibson, Greene, Harrison, Knox, Martin, Orange, Owen, Parke, Perry, Pike, Posey, Putnam, Scott, Spencer, Sullivan, Vanderburgh, Vermillion, Vigo, Warrick, and Washington.

The SPOE serves as the single point where all children under the age of three and their families are referred to for First Steps Early Intervention services. Children are then evaluated by members of our Assessment Team comprised of Developmental Therapists, Occupational Therapists, Physical Therapists and Speech-Language Pathologists. For more information visit their website firststepsbrs.org.

Healthy Families

Part of Healthy Families Indiana and Healthy Families America, this program serves families in Crawford, Harrison and Washington counties by providing support to new parents in an effort to optimize child growth and development and support parent/child interaction. The program provides resource and referral services as well as home visitation services.

For additional information on Healthy Families, please contact Denise Griffiths, Manager of Healthy Families at (812) 738-0392 or by e-mail brhfmgr@brsinc.org.

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Getting by with a little help

Healthy Families Program Offers New Parents Source of Comfort, Hope

In rural Crawford, Washington and Harrison Counties, single parents and poverty rank especially high. With 2,547 single parents in the tri-county area in 2016 and 6,812 food stamp recipients in 2017, the area also is known for its continuing drug epidemic.

Just ask Crystal Hess, a single mother who struggled with drug addiction for many years.

With the help of Healthy Families, though, Hess has become a nurturing mother, wife, homeowner and restaurant manager. The state-funded program, offered by Blue River Services, Inc. in Harrison, Washington and Crawford Counties, offers new and expectant parents free, voluntary and confidential assistance. Hess successfully graduated from the program in January 2018.

A Family Support Specialist, who helps parents like Hess cope with stress, identify needs and build on strengths, can even help families with parenting skills and developing goals. The ongoing services also include screening for post-partum depression, a grave condition affecting Hess, along with 600,000 other women in the United States annually, according to the Centers for Disease Control. With referrals to community resources and doctors, and developmental in-home assessments, Hess and her son also began receiving services through First Steps after Healthy Families staff identified a developmental delay. Her son received in-home speech and language therapy through First Steps, and at 3-years-old, he is now eligible to participate in an Exceptional Learners program at North Harrison Elementary.

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