LEXINGTON, Ky. (FOX 56) — Being a parent is hard, especially if you’re a first-timer. New parents have a lot of questions, namely, am I doing this right? One program available for new parents in Lexington tries to make those early years a little easier.

It’s known as the Health Access Nurturing Development Services (HANDS) program. It’s operated in partnership between the Lexington-Fayette County Health Department and the Family Care Center.

Every county in the state has a program like this, but the Lexington/Fayette County version of the program just received a big boost in funding—more than $700,000 worth.

HANDS is a free education program that uses an evidence-based curriculum, offering parents best practices from top medical sites nationwide.

How it works: A family care worker comes to your home for one hour a week and teaches parents how to raise their children until they’re two years old. They’ll teach things such as nutrition, how to interact with your child, bedtime routines, childproofing your home, and much more.

“It’s a strengths-based program,” said Community Programs Manager Dave Peterson for the health department. “In other words, the home visitors do not go into the home and then just tell I tell you what you’re doing wrong, or you know, it’s not that at all. In fact, it’s quite the opposite. Every family has inherent strengths in the family, and so the whole visitors go in and sort of assess the situation. Every family is different. Every family is unique. We play off of all the things that all the things that they’re already doing very well, and we build on those strengths.”

In total, $711,152 is being awarded to the HANDS program, which can do a lot of big things for parents in Fayette County.

It can also do a number of small things. For example, if parents can’t afford diapers or a crib for their newborn, the HANDS program will step in and help with donations.

It can be expensive to raise a child, especially for a first-time parent who may not know how to best allocate resources. A little help can go a long way.


The majority of the funding will go toward training the people who work with families so that everyone who interacts with your child and your family is prepared. It’s about working with an individual family to address specific needs and tailor a plan to help parents learn how to raise their baby into adolescence.

Another plan for the funding is to help get the word out.

“We’re a little bit limited with the advertising and with the marketing that we’re able to really do because we really spend all the money that we’re provided with,” Peterson explained. “We really spend on having the best possible staff and the best possible training for our staff. We really pretty much all the money that we receive goes directly to those individuals that are in the program.”

If you’re interested in signing up for the HANDS program or donating, you can find that information here.