Strengthening Families Through Outreach
The Children’s Home + Aid Healthy Families Illinois program is centered on positive, persistent outreach services intended to strengthen families and promote access to community resources.
The Healthy Families Illinois program reaches out to families that are at risk for child abuse or neglect. Risk factors involve parents affected by social isolation, substance abuse, and parental history of abuse in childhood. Through outreach, the program is able to help connect families to community resources including: educational programs; financial, food, and housing assistance programs; school readiness programs; child care; job training programs; family support centers; substance abuse treatment programs; and domestic violence shelters.
The program also seeks to improve family health through immunizations and well-child visits. These visits include parent education on infant and child care, bathing, nutrition, and activities. Parent education extends beyond child care including stress management, budgeting skills, problem solving skills, hygiene, and safety education. The cumulative effect of these efforts strengthens families and reduces the risk of child abuse and neglect.
Healthy Families Illinois is offered in the Central Region.
Children’s Home + Aid’s Healthy Families Illinois programs are fully accredited by Healthy Families America. The award of accreditation indicates programming that adheres to research based best practices standards that are indicative of programming excellence. The accreditation process includes submission of an extensive self-study and three-day site visit by representatives of Healthy Families America.
We are using the KIPS parenting assessment tool for our home visiting programs to assess parent/child interaction progress with the families we serve. It uses video and a scoring sheet to determine how effective the program is at enhancing the parent/child relationship. Comfort Consults provides support tools for KIPS users: http://www.comfortconsults.com .
The Erikson Institute Fussy Baby Network® Advanced Training and Evaluation Project
Healthy Start is participating in the first wave of the implementation phase of the Erikson Institute Fussy Baby Network® Advanced Training and Evaluation Project. The project is federally funded through the Affordable Care Act’s Maternal, Infant, Early Childhood Home Visiting Program (MIECHVP). Fussy Baby Network® was chosen by the Illinois Department of Human Services to provide and evaluate training for Healthy Families Illinois home visitors and supervisors providing services in high-risk communities.
This training is designed to complement the Healthy Families curriculum and will enable home visitors to enhance their relationships with families, strengthen family engagement in the program, and build on their own reflective capacity. This training will also will support supervisors apply a parallel engagement process to enhance their relationships with home visitors. Chapin Hall will serve as the evaluation partner on this project to determine the effects of training and consultation on home visitors, supervisors, and families.