“Great Childhoods Begin At Home” – HealthNet’s Healthy Families Program

April is Child Abuse Prevention Month and we would like to take this opportunity to recognize the outstanding work of HealthNet’s Healthy Families Program, a premier child maltreatment prevention program.  Our home visitors have such strong passion for assuring that children are raised in safe and nurturing home environments.  These amazing individuals do tireless and challenging work with overburdened parents in high risk neighborhoods.

HealthNet’s Healthy Families Program is part of a national program, Healthy Families America, and we must show adherence to HFA Best Practice Standards in order to earn our national accreditation.  Healthy Families America (HFA) is rooted in the belief that early, nurturing relationships are the foundation for life-long, healthy development. Healthy Families delivers home visits to overburdened families, to help parents forge a strong bond with their child despite challenges such as single parenthood, low income, depression that put child at risk for adverse childhood experiences, including abuse and neglect.

HFA reports rigorous evidence from 12 publications of multiple randomized control trials with impact in the following six domains.

  • Family economic self-sufficiency:  The program helps parents find the motivation and resources to further their education.
  • Maternal and newborn health:   Rigorous studies of HFA sites report numerous health benefits for both mothers and babies.  More parents reduced their alcohol use, children have better access to health care, and more completed well child visits.
  • Prevention of child injuries, including maltreatment:  HFA studies show 17 significant benefits in this area, including reduced child maltreatment, physical punishment, yelling and improved use of non-violent discipline based on parents’ self-reports.
  • School readiness:   Rigorous studies report improvements in children’s cognitive development at one and two years.
  • Reduction in crime or domestic violence:  Reducing domestic violence is particularly challenging but crucial due to its close link to child maltreatment and other negative outcomes for children and families.
  • Linkages and referrals:  Many of the families typically exhibit more needs than a single program can address.  The programs use key strategies to strengthen their connection and collaborate with many community services to link families to needed services.

HealthNet’s Healthy Families Program serves approximately 1,400 families annually.  Families start the program receiving weekly home visits and they can participate in the program until the child reaches three years of age.  Our dedicated staff of home visitors completed 12,593 home visits last year and made 3,570 referrals to community services.

Healthy Families America’s new tagline is “Great Childhoods Begin at Home”.   My personal favorite is a quote from the recently retired President of Prevent Child Abuse America, and it is “great childhoods for everyone”.  We think that it sends a wonderful message to patients that HealthNet really cares about their health and well-being, so much that they send someone to visit them in the privacy of their own home to assist them with any needs and to provide parenting and child development information for FREE.

For more information about HealthNet’s Healthy Families Program, please click here.

Post by Denise Kaspar

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