The goals of Healthy Families America, a long term, evidence-based home visiting program, are to build and maintain partnerships in communities that engage families in home visiting, either prenatally or at birth; promote and strengthen positive parent-child relationships; promote positive growth and development in children; build the strengths of families and their protective factors.
Expectant mothers and families with newborns. Families may have more than one child. The program is designed mainly for overburdened parents who have had some form of early childhood trauma. In Rhode Island, Healthy Families America provides services to young, low-income women in Providence and Woonsocket. In Fall 2012, services will expand to Central Falls, Newport, Pawtucket, and West Warwick.
Before a home visitor (Family Support Worker) from Healthy Families America begins home visits, a Family Resource Specialist visits with a family to see if they want or need long-term home visiting services. For some families, this kind of home visiting is not right, or they need other services, such as a parenting class. The Family Resource Specialist works with families to identify what they want and need.
Family Support Workers aim to establish trusting, consistent relationships. This kind of relationship helps families grow and change. Family Support Workers can help expectant mothers and families access community resources and supports, plan for education and jobs, and decrease social isolation. They also offer encouragement and emotional support.
During home visits, Family Support Workers focus on supporting strong, healthy relationships between parents (including fathers) and children. They help parents read their children's cues and respond in nurturing ways. Family Support Workers also help parents become more self-sufficient and confident in their roles as parents.
Family Support Workers work with parents so that they understand their children's development, including age-appropriate milestones. Using the Growing Great Kids curriculum, Family Support Workers foster nurturing parent-child interactions and encourage brain development and stimulation through play.
Family Support Workers link families to patient-centered medical homes for both parents and children. If pregnant women enroll, Family Support Workers help connect them with prenatal care. They work with parents to help ensure that children are up to date on immunizations and receive all their well-child visits. They also work with families to create a safe home environment for the entire family.
Anyone may refer a pregnant woman or family with a newborn to Healthy Families America. Referrals are taken from:
If you are interested in participating in Healthy Families America, would like to refer an expectant mother or family with a newborn (younger than two weeks old), or have questions about the program, please contact the First Connections provider in your community.