The foundation of a child’s brain is built during the first three years of life.
Healthy Families is a home-based family support and coaching program that supports first-time parents and helps them create stable, nurturing environments for their children.
The program matches parents with trained professionals who visit families’ homes to provide support during later pregnancy and may up to the child’s first five years of life. Home visitors support parents in learning about proper baby care, promote nurturing and attachment, practice effective parenting skills, and ensure parents have a solid understanding of healthy child development. They support parents on setting and achieving personal goals discussed between themselves and the home visitor.
Home Visitors do not provide transportation, child care, and do not give out food, formula or diapers. They help families to connect to agencies which support families to meet their basic needs.
Referrals are accepted either prenatally (eighth month), or up to 3 months (or 12 months in special circumstances) after baby’s birth. Families can be referred to Healthy Families by their Public Health Nurse, community agencies, family and friends, or by the families themselves.
After the referral is received by Healthy Families, the family receives information about Healthy Families, and a screen is completed to identify those families the program is a fit for. After the screen is completed with permission from the family, the information gathered will be forwarded to a trained home visitor for follow-up.
A Healthy Families home visitor will contact the family to set up the first home visit. Every effort will be made to complete the follow-up visit within 4 weeks of referral to the program.
With the family’s participation, the home visitor offers to connect all families to resources within their community and offers weekly home visiting services to families who are connected to the program.
Weekly home visits may begin prenatally (eight month) or after the birth of the baby. Each visit consists of three major components:
Service is centered around building on families’ strengths. Connection to community supports is an integral part of the service. Frequency of home visits decrease over time, based on the family’s input and program criteria.
Home Visitors receive ongoing support from a Supervisor through a reflective supervision model. Since Healthy Families is a voluntary program, families can choose to decrease or discontinue service at any time.