With stay-at-home orders, school closures, and business shut-downs, parents are balancing work, child care, and self-care while dealing with other impacts of the COVID-19 pandemic. In response, Family Service Agency (FSA) and Santa Maria Valley Youth & Family Center launched a program for parents to call in, from 8:30 a.m. to 5 p.m., and receive free and confidential parenting and relationship support.  English- and Spanish-speaking parent educators in Santa Barbara, Santa Maria, and Lompoc are standing by, ready to address callers’ concerns with compassion and gentle guidance.

“Even under the best circumstances, parenting and relationships can be tremendously difficult to navigate,” said Ashleigh Erving, Director of FSA’s Family Support Services. “During times of stress and uncertainty, it is even more crucial to actively engage in self-care to promote your own wellness and enhance your family’s resiliency.”

Parents looking for encouragement, to expand their coping capacity, or to promote deeper connections with their partner or children should initially call into the warm line or email a parent educator. Subsequent consultations can take place via phone, FaceTime, Zoom, WhatsApp, or other application. For phone numbers, email addresses, and details, visit fsacares.org/parent-coaching.

“The Parent Coaching Warm Line helps parents build confidence and gain coping strategies,” said Erving.