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For Families

Parent Education & Support

Making your child’s early years count.
Making your child’s early years count.

Our Program

About the Program

Our Early Childhood Home Visiting Programs (Parents As Teachers and Healthy Families) increase children’s school readiness and success by improving parenting practices, increasing parent knowledge of early childhood development, screening children for development and health issues, and linking families to community resources. Our trained staff reinforce with parents the importance of their involvement in their child’s learning during the crucial early years of life. Our programs are based on nationally replicated, research-based, successfully proven parent education and family support models.

We connect interested families with a home visitor who meets with them regularly in the home or location the parent chooses. The home visitor provides:
  • Support during pregnancy and early years of parenting
  • Information on how babies grow, change, and develop
  • Activities, books, and games for babies that promote learning and healthy brain development
  • Referrals to community resources

Our Clients

Pregnant and parenting families with children under the age of 5 years who reside in the cities of Norfolk and Portsmouth are eligible to participate in our parent education support services. Program services are free and voluntary. Families are enrolled during pregnancy or within 3 years of the child’s birth and may continue until the child enters Kindergarten. Families are encouraged to participate for at least 24 months.

Home Visit with Liz

What Makes Us Different

Our family support team helps parents to recognize teachable moments in their child’s life, build positive relationships with their children, and increase their support networks. They help parents enhance their child’s language, intellectual, and social development so that all children enter Kindergarten ready to learn. In addition to one-on-one visits we also host monthly parent and child groups where parents make connections to other families, learn, and have fun! This includes outings to the Virginia Zoo, area libraries and parks, Norfolk Botanical Gardens and the Children’s Museum.
We also support parents to ensure they have access to complete child health screenings, including vision and hearing, as well as childhood vaccinations. Our home visitors also connect parents with community resources to help them become more self-sufficient. Case management and mental health services for parents in need may also be provided.

Our Impact

In 2020 our Parent Support Education Programs provided:
More than 1,800 fun and information filled home visits were conducted with 535 families in Norfolk and Portsmouth throughout the year

91% of children in the program received annual developmental screens

100% of children in the program with identified delays received early intervention services and support

True Stories

“The Up Center was a blessing…..and I know I would be where I am today if it wasn’t for The Up Center.”

—Renae, Parents As Teachers client

“It was good to be able to talk to someone and not be judged…it was just comfortable. Finding The Up Center helped me to be a better mom.”

—Shantae, Healthy Families client
Parent Education and Support

“This program has helped me reach my very best potential as a mom, an auntie, and a strong woman. I’ve learned that even if you think you can’t be the best mom keep trying and never give up.”


“The program has helped me in preparing for my son to arrive! I’ve learned about how my son is growing and developing while pregnant and how to communicate with him when he gets here.”


Meet the Team

Rosalind Hopkins

Rosalind joined The Up Center in 2006 and serves as Director of Prevention for the Early Childhood Home Visiting program services. She is responsible for training and overseeing the Norfolk Healthy Families services and the Parents As Teachers program. She has her Master’s in Education and has served as an educator in the public, adult, and non-profit sector for over 20 years.

Sabrina Jenkins

Sabrina Jenkins

Sabrina serves as Lead Parent Educator for Parents as Teachers. She is a graduate of Old Dominion University and received a Bachelor of Science degree in Human Services. She has been passionately delivering child development education, family support and advocacy to families across Hampton Roads since 2013. In her spare time, Sabrina enjoys quality time with her family and experimenting in the kitchen.

Michael Jones, MSW M Div.

Dad Engagement Specialist

Michael has over 10 years of experience serving the children and families of Hampton Roads as a minister, tutor, case manager, and Fatherhood Coordinator. He began his professional career as a Case Manager with The Up Center’s Responsible Fatherhood program after earning his undergraduate degree in Social Work. After earning his M.Div., Michael returned to The Up Center in 2022 as the agency’s first male Parent Educator in our Parents As Teachers program.

Josephine Adams

Josephine is the Prevention Outreach Associate with the Parents As Teachers program. She has been a vital part of the Prevention Team since 2013. Mrs. Adams conducts program outreach and presentations throughout the community, completes program intake and provides administrative support for the PAT program.

Kathi Walker-Jackson

Kathi is a Sr. Parent Educator with the Parents As Teachers program. She has served as a community support worker in home visiting since 2006. As a Sleep Tight Partner with CHIP of South Hampton Roads, Ms. Jackson also serves as the Safe Sleep Coordinator for The Up Center. She provides free safe sleep training and pack-n-play distribution for families in Norfolk and Portsmouth.

Monica Atkins

Monica is a native of Portsmouth, Virginia, and a community leader with her non-profit, Stop the Violence. Ms. Atkins is the Parent Educator that serves the families in Portsmouth. She has been providing program services with Parents As Teachers since 2018.

Deborah Carlos

Deborah is the certified Doula for the Early Childhood Home Visiting Services. She provides childbirth preparation, lactation, and birthing support to program parents. She also conducts childbirth preparation and education groups for the general-public. She is affectionately known as Deb the Doula.

Brandie Thompson

Brandie Thompson has served as a community support worker for 8 years. Ms. Thompson has a passion for working with teen parents and parents with disabilities.

Leslie Meekins

Healthy Families Supervisor
Leslie is the Supervisor for Healthy Families and first began working with Healthy Families in 2001. Leslie has a master’s degree in social work from the University of Maryland. She is the American Red Cross facilitator for the CPR/First Aid/AED classes that we offer to parents in Healthy Families and Parents as Teachers.

Katie Batson

Family Support Specialist

Katie is the Family Support Specialist for Healthy Families, which serves the families of Norfolk from prenatal care until their child is five years old. Katie has been in the Early Childhood field for almost 20 years, working with families and children from birth to age 12. She loves being part of children’s lives and partnering with families to support their child’s growth and development.

Benita Thompson

Family Resource Specialist

Benita joined The Up Center in 2021 and is the Family Resource Specialist with Healthy Families. She is a graduate of Virginia Commonwealth University where she received her Bachelor of Science in Psychology with a Minor in African American Studies. With over 15 years of experience serving youth and families in multiple systems, Benita enjoys connecting with the community through outreach and advocacy.  

Request a Home Visit

If you are interested in our program and would like to request a home visit, please complete the form below.
After we receive your request, one of our Family Resource Specialists or Prevention Outreach Specialists will visit with you and bring you a free book for you and your child. If you are interested, you will be matched with a Family Support Specialist or Parent Educator who will visit you regularly.

Contact Us

Location: 1805 Airline Blvd, Portsmouth, VA 23707

Phone: (757) 397-2121

Fax: (757) 399-3316


Hours: 8:30 am – 4:30 pm Monday- Friday

For Home Visiting Clients Facebook Group, please click here.

For Home Visiting Podcast, please click here.

How You Can Help

Our clients often need additional support. Below is a list of items that are needed year round and during the holidays. You can also visit our Amazon Wish List for a list of items frequently requested by families, including items for children.

Year Round (NEW items only please):

  • NEW baby items—pacifiers, bottles, baby wash, wipes, lotion, towels and washcloths, pack and play sheets, receiving blankets, etc.
  • Diapers and Pull-Ups—all sizes but especially sizes 4-5
  • Baby food
  • Maternity clothes in larger sizes
  • NEW seasonally appropriate clothes for babies and children sizes NB-6X
  • Books
  • NEW or gently used swings and bouncers, toddler beds and baby gates
  • NEW strollers, car seats, pack-n-plays
  • Adult and child toothpaste and toothbrushes
  • Soap, laundry detergent, disinfectant and cleaning supplies
  • Gift cards
  • Bus passes
  • Tickets to family friendly events

Back to School (NEW items only please)

  • Small backpacks/tote bags
  • Board books and books suitable for children under 5 years
  • Blankets for nap time
  • Developmentally appropriate toys such as wooden puzzles, rattles, teething rings, sorting and nesting toys, and wooden blocks;
  • New clothing in infant-size 6X


  • Food for holiday meals
  • Donation of space to hold 150 people for holiday party
  • Catering for holiday party to feed approximately 60 adults and 80 children

Please email us at if you’d like to help.

Volunteer with us by clicking here.
  • Volunteer to paint faces for holiday party
  • Volunteer to set up, serve or clean up food at events
  • Volunteer to set up and clean up
  • Volunteer to help families make crafts

Our Mission

We are committed to partnering with children, families, and communities to improve lives and outcomes through prevention, intervention, and support services.