Angela Campbell, of Wildwood, sorted through a pile of clothes at the edge of the picnic site.

"This is cute," she said holding up a baby's shirt and showing it to a friend.

Campbell is pregnant with her third child.

"I already have two boys, and now I'm having a girl," she said. "Thank God."

In shelter five on the outskirts of the Cape May County Park and Zoo, Holy Redeemer Home Care and Hospice held a barbecue picnic Aug. 20 for the culmination of Cape May's Healthy Family TIP program.

"Healthy Families is a national voluntary parenting program," program coordinator Peggy Smith, of Ocean City, said. "It is a home visitation program that promotes parent-child initiative through activities. We cheer on families to achieve their goals."

Some of those goals might be educational or work goals for parents, while developmental testing on the children is done every six months.

"We also encourage parents to reach out into the community for resources connecting them to local help," Assistant Supervisor Marie Nugent, of Cape May, said. "We promote healthy homes and make sure they have a safe home."

Along with supporting community involvement, Healthy Families helps to connect children to health care services, answer parents' questions about caring for a child, offer resources for housing, education, child care and job training, as well as offering emotional support.

Stephanie Corea, of West Cape May, said that she has always been around babies and children, but being a new mother is a completely different experience for her. Her daughter, Harper, is 10 months old.

"Being in the program has helped make sure that my daughter is hitting the right milestones," she said. "It's nice with all the questions I have. It's helpful."

"Kids don't come with instructions," Smith said.

Even though Campbell has two other children, she said it is always beneficial to have the support from someone like her family support worker, or home visitor.

"She brings me information and works with me," Campbell said. "She's been really helpful, and I think it's going to work."

Since the beginning of the program in 1996, Cape May's Healthy Families has served more than 600 families and performed about 2,000 home visits. Families in the program can receive home visiting support until the child is 3 years old.

"We all help each other in this program," Smith said. "Families have there own protective factors. They come with their own strengths."

For more information regarding Cape May County's Health Families TIP program, visit healthy

Contact Devin Loring:

609-463-6713