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JEFFERSON CITY - Jefferson City's Parents as Teachers program hosted a free development, health, hearing and vision screening for children Wednesday night at Southwest Early Childhood Center. 

The non-profit program supports children aged 3 months to 5 years who live within the Jefferson City Public School district.

Katie Epema, Parents as Teachers coordinator, said the program and screenings lend support to families.

"We act as a resource network," Epema said. "If we find something on the screening that needs strengthening, we connect families to those resources to help the child." 

Parents as Teachers screens children once each school year until they enter kindergarten.

The purpose is to enhance child development and ensure the child is on track for their age. 

"Screening appointments are helpful because they show you what things your child are already doing well," Epema said. "But also, if there are any areas that they are maybe a little bit behind in or they could be strengthened, we can find those too." 

Gale Bailey, second-generation participant, said the program has helped her own children and now her grandson. 

"I hope that they can find his skills, his weaknesses, his strengths and be able to work on each one of those and help him through school," she said.

The next child screening will be Oct. 30 at Southwest Early Childhood Center from 4-7 p.m.