Smooth Way Home

Supporting a successful transition for fragile infants and their families from the newborn intensive care unit back to their community


The overall purpose of the Smooth Way Home Fragile Infant Project is to improve the social, developmental and medical outcomes of very fragile infants by enhancing the coordination of care and the quality of services provided to them as they transition from the newborn intensive care unit back to their home and community.


Southwest Human Development has played a leadership role in bringing together a wide range of community partners, including state agencies, community service providers, parent advocacy groups, hospital personnel, physicians and health insurance providers to address the needs of this very vulnerable population.



    • Increase the number of NICU babies who are connected with early intervention services prior to discharge or very shortly after discharge
    • Provide training and technical assistance to the community of early intervention providers related to specialized developmental assessment tools and intervention approaches appropriate for very fragile newborns and infants
    • Provide mentoring and resource support for families whose babies are transitioning home from the NICU
    • Special emphasis on support for families whose babies have eating/feeding disorders
    • Provide increased screening and support for parents coping with Perinatal Mood Disorders (PPD, PP OCD, PP Anxiety, and PTSD)


Identified Needs/Issues

    • Trauma and stress for families
    • Costly readmissions for NICU graduates
    • Missed opportunities to support babies’ optimal growth and development
    • Lack of coordination, communication and understanding between NICU and community providers
    • Lack of training for community providers in care of fragile infants
    • Missed opportunity for families to understand and be connected with community services


NICU Parent Resources



Professional Development and Training

Smooth Way Home provides professional development and training for professionals who work with fragile infants who experience prematurity; special needs; term, but are not behaviorally well-organized; and/or born into high risk families.


Eventbrite - BABIES AZ Foundation Level Training


May 4, 2017 | Common Feeding Hurdles in the Weeks and Months After Leaving the NICU

Join Feeding Matters on Thursday, May 4, 2017, from 7:00 – 8:00 p.m. ET for “Common Feeding Hurdles in the Weeks and Months After Leaving the NICU: A Virtual Workshop with Pamela Dodrill, PhD, CCC-SLP.” Dr. Dodrill will discuss what NICU families can expect when having a child who has a pediatric feeding disorder, with time available at the end for questions. This workshop is for families who have children with pediatric feeding disorders and the healthcare professionals who care for them. Cost: $20. REGISTER HERE


Thank You to Our Community Partners

Funding from Dignity Health is supporting Southwest Human Development and its partners – Feeding Matters , The Arizona Postpartum Wellness Coalition and Raising Special Kids – in bringing together key stakeholders to build the systems needed to provide coordinated care and state-of-the-art services to these babies.


For more information about Smooth Way Home, please contact Rachael Cervantes at (602) 633-8455 or

Helping Arizona Children & Famillies

With your support we can do even more