15 May 2019

Healthy Families Jefferson County Receives Accreditation!


Healthy Families Jefferson County, a Healthy Families America Site, Accredited for Quality Service by Prevent Child Abuse America

Leading National Child Abuse Prevention Organization Accredits Healthy Families America site in Jefferson County, NY to Serve Families


Watertown, NY – Prevent Child Abuse America (PCA America) announced today that the Healthy Families America (HFA) affiliate, Healthy Families Jefferson County, has been accredited as a provider of high-quality home visiting services to families who want to improve their child’s health, nutrition, and developmental outcomes.

HFA is a signature program of PCA America that has been providing home visiting services for more than 20 years.  Expectant and new parents have common questions about their child’s development.  HFA connects with families through community partners like hospitals and pediatricians to find the answers to their questions, meeting within the familiarity and convenience of the family’s own home.  HFA is an accessible, voluntary and well-received service.

“The American Dream starts with a happy, healthy childhood,” said Dan Duffy, President and CEO of PCA America.  “As parents, we all have questions from time to time.  Our HFA professionals offer evidence-based best practices to provide answers to questions, individualized support when needed most, and linkages to community services.  As we congratulate Healthy Families Jefferson County, we also recognize the state and community leadership that has contributed to success in Jefferson County.”

The accreditation process is based upon a stringent set of 12 critical elements grounded in more than 30 years of research.  The process involves an in-depth examination of the site’s operation, as well as the quality of the visits made by HFA home visitors.

“We commend the Jefferson County program for opening itself up to such an intensive review process,” said Kathleen Strader, National Director of HFA.  “We believe that all families and all communities deserve access to quality home visiting services.”

“Healthy Families New York’s 43 programs served nearly 6,000 families with more than 71,000 home visits last year.  We are proud to support these programs that are proven to contribute to positive and lasting outcomes for families throughout New York State,” said acting Office of Children and Family Services Commissioner Sheila J. Poole.  “We congratulate all the Healthy Families New York programs on their re-accreditation and impactful work with families across the state.”

The HFA site in Jefferson County, located at 200 Washington Street, Suite 300, Watertown, NY, started partnering with families in the fall of 2017.  During the 2018 calendar year, program staff supported over eighty families through nearly one-thousand home visits.  Of those families, nearly 70% were single parents and approximately 20% were first-time parents.  “All parents want to provide and nurture their child in a positive, healthy environment, but sometimes they need a little support along the way,” said Joe Paté, Director of Healthy Families Jefferson County.  “Being able to partner with moms and dads from as early as the first trimester and until the child reaches school age, gives us the unique opportunity to help them create a happy, loving, and safe environment where their child can thrive!”

“The North Country Prenatal/Perinatal Council is honored to be the host agency for Healthy Families here in Jefferson County,” said Executive Director Tina Cobb.  “For over thirty years our agency’s mission has been dedicated to strengthening maternal and family health.  Healthy Families has provided us the opportunity to carry out that mission with even more families.”

Home visitors in each community receive extensive training in a wide range of areas that can cause stress and worry to just about every new parent.  Training includes, caring for a new baby; ensuring the baby is receiving the nutrition needed; promoting healthy child development; and coping with a myriad of other potential stresses, such as financial, housing, partner relationship, etc., that may become heightened with an addition to the family.

“Living in a largely rural district, there is an overall lack of in-home services for families in Jefferson County,” according to Nicholle Lacey of the Jefferson County Department of Social Services.  “Our agency is servicing a large number of families with children between the ages of 0-5 and this impactful, voluntary program is helping to fill a gap in our community in strengthening families and promoting healthy child outcomes.  We are proud to partner with and congratulate the Healthy Families Jefferson County program on the incredible work they do with families across the county.”

HFA is the sole topic featured in an issue of The Journal of Prevention and Intervention in the Community (Volume 34, Numbers 1/2 2007).  The title of the issue is “The Healthy Families America Initiative: Integrating Research, Theory, and Practice,” and was edited by researcher Dr. Joe Galano.  There are 11 distinct articles about various aspects of HFA and authors include a number of PCA America national office staff including Senior Director of Research, Kathryn Harding.

PCA America was established in 1972 with the belief that child abuse and neglect is preventable.  The not-for-profit, volunteer-based organization is committed to preventing child abuse in all forms through education, research, public awareness, and public policy development.  Today, PCA America has 50 statewide chapters.

PCA America implemented the Healthy Families America (HFA) initiative in 1992 in partnership with Ronald McDonald House Charities, building on two decades of research in the field of home visiting.  HFA serves families of all ethnic and socio-economic backgrounds, meeting the needs of close to 600 communities in 40 states, DC, the U.S. Territories and Canada.

Healthy Families America is an effective and proven evidence-based home visiting program according to the U.S. Department of Health & Human Services.  PCA America is proud to support HFA and to be part of a national coalition of organizations dedicated to improving the home visiting field.

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April 30, 2019

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