Baby 1st Network 2019 Mini-Grant Program

Mar 13, 2019

Caring Communities Embracing Grieving Parents and Families

Baby 1st Network announces its 4th annual mini-grant program for community-driven organizations in the state of Ohio with a mission to reduce Sudden Unexpected Infant Death and dedicated to educating and supporting parents and the community. Since 2015, 65 organizations received $500 mini-grants and leveraged the funding to promote the infant safe sleep message and sponsor educational programs in their communities.

For 2019, Baby 1st Network has created a mini-grant program with a focus on parents and extended family and friends who have experienced the loss of a baby. The Baby 1st Network 2019 Caring Communities Mini-Grant Program will kick-off this March with applications due by mail or e-mail on April 12th. The mini-grant awardees will receive $500 to be used between April 29-June 17, 2019.

While the grieving process is natural and necessary, many parents and families are not aware of the services and resources available to them. Many suffer in silence, unaware that persistent, consuming grief may increase the risk of depression, substance abuse, suicide, and serious health issues, such as heart problems, high blood pressure, and cancer –until it’s too late. It’s also known to rip families and friendships apart at a time when those bonds are needed most.

“Our mission is to not only save babies but provide support to families who are grieving from the loss of their baby with information, guidance, peer counseling, and resources,” says Stacy Scott, Ph.D., MPA, Executive Director of Baby 1st Network. “There’s nothing more heartbreaking to see the Coroner’s Office report of another baby who’s died, and I can’t even come close to imagine the pain the parents and family members are experiencing. As a community, we want to show support, but most of us don’t really know how.”

This year’s mini-grant program will provide neighborhoods and community groups with funding to build awareness and provide peer support to Ohio families that have experienced the loss of an infant.  Baby 1st Network is willing to build awareness and encourage the utilization of support services to families that are impacted by the loss of an infant. The mini-grant funds must be used to provide support through awareness building activities and education.

It is important that parents/caregivers understand that it is an accepted and appropriate designation as an official cause of death – an unexplainable one. Unfortunately, in some cases, community members may blame the parents for the death and view law enforcement involvement as a clear sign that the death occurred under suspicious circumstances. In some communities, even today, parents are wrongly suspected of intentionally causing the death of their baby.”

It is also true that many people in the community may be extremely sympathetic and concerned for the parents and family, but unsure or uncomfortable about how to express their support. Supporting a grieving person is an important job. You will not know what to do in all situations, so the most important thing is to be patient and communicate -- letting them know you are willing to provide support.

“We recognize that each community has a wealth of knowledge,” said Scott.  “Our objective is to help community members engage one another while validating the need to grieve.  As always, our goal is to l help strengthen communities and enable people to “reach out” by utilizing what is already established around them – their very own network of community and supports.”

The Baby 1st Network is offering funds to support community outreach efforts that:

1)      Increase public awareness of the emotional impact of Sudden Unexpected Infant Death.

2)      Provide an opportunity to inform Ohioans of the diverse resources that exist within the community that can provide comfort in time of an infant lost

3)      Encourage the opportunity for families to tell their stories as a means to validate their experience, provide comfort, and reverse isolation.

Sudden Unexpected Infant Deaths (SUID) are defined as deaths that occur suddenly and unexpectedly in infants less than 1 year of age, and whose cause of death is not immediately obvious prior to investigation. After a full investigation, these causes of death may be diagnosed as suffocation, asphyxia, entrapment, infection, ingestions, metabolic diseases, cardiac arrhythmias, trauma (accidental or non-accidental), or SIDS. Sleep-Related Infant Deaths are those deaths that happen suddenly and unexpectedly in a sleep environment. Sudden Infant Death Syndrome (SIDS) is marked by the sudden death of an infant under 1 year of age, which remains unexplained after a thorough case investigation - including the performance of an autopsy, examination of the death scene, and a review of the clinical history.

This program is made possible through funding from these donors and annual events: Nolan P. Fisher Golf Outing, Corbin Hastings Memorial Day Ride/Run, Laura Elizabeth Pease Memorial Golf Outing, Brianna Dawn Tully Memorial Golf Outing, SIDS Golf Benefit, Justin Prestage Golf Outing and Auction and Grant’s SIDS 5k Run/Walk.

Click here to download the Mini-Grant Application.

Click here to download the Mini-Grant Guidelines.