|THE RIGHT START
The birth of a child can be
exciting and overwhelming at the same time. Healthy Families is a free,
voluntary program offering support to first-time parents of all socio-economic
levels. Information and support is available to all new parents, while
overburdened families are offered a home visitor for up to five years.
The goal of Healthy Families
is to ensure that each child has the best possible start in life, and enters
school ready to learn. This local program is based on a national model
which has proven effective in preventing child abuse and neglect.
Healthy Families will link
families with various local programs and services to build on existing
resources and avoid duplication.
Did you realize . . . ?
Most child abuse is committed
in the home by persons known and trusted by the child.
1996 approximately 3 million children
in the U.S. reported suspected child abuse/neglect and nearly 1,100 cases
were child abuse fatalities.
Approximately 75% of children
who die from abuse are under age three.
FAMILY SUPPORT WORKER
A key element of Healthy Families
is home visitation services by a trained Family Support Worker to address:
Child development, health, nutrition,
parent-child interaction and discipline.
Issues impacting family functioning,
such as substance abuse, unemployment, and mental illness.
Family referrals to existing resources
Education and modeling to promote
Most community systems were
designed to serve families after problems occur. This is costly and does
not result in full recovery, as most initial damage to children occurs
in the first five years of
Healthy Families is initiated
before undesirable parenting patterns are established.
Money spent on prevention will
save the money required to treat, rehabilitate and/or confine affected
WHAT SERVICES ARE PROVIDED?
Assessment and evaluation
Link to a health care provider
and preventive health care
Referral and coordination with
other community programs
Parent-to-parent discussion groups
In-home parent education and support
services with long-term case management (birth to 5 years)
Families participating in Healthy
Families in other Virginia sites have resulted in:
No abuse/neglect in 99% of families.
Over 90% of first-time teen mothers
have not had repeat pregnancies.
For every $3.00 spent, $7.00 is
saved in the cost of welfare, special education, counseling and housing
of juvenile offenders.
Healthy Families Rappahannock
Area was developed through the participation of stakeholders in Planning
District 16, including:
Area Health District*
Area Community Services Board*
Rappahannock Regional Library
for Teen Parents
Education Infant Development Program
Brisben Homeless Shelter
Rivers Agency for Community Action
Mobile Health Center
Area Health Advisory
*Major funding provided by
Start-up funding provided by
a Mary Washington Hospital Foundation grant. Continued funding provided
by state, local and grant funding. The Rappahannock Area Community Services
Board serves as the host agency.