The Florida Legislature appropriated funds to restore Healthy Families’ services in five counties that lost services after the program suffered a $10 million budget cut back in 2010. The Healthy Start Coalition of Jefferson, Madison & Taylor Counties will be the community-based agency charged with implementing the program in five of those counties — Jefferson, Madison, Taylor, Lafayette and Hamilton — which will be known as Healthy Families Seven Rivers.
Healthy Families is committed to preventing child abuse and neglect in high-risk families, utilizing proven home visiting services that are far less costly than treating the consequences of child abuse after it occurs. “It costs Florida 38 times more to care for an abused child than to prevent a child from being abused; Healthy Families saves lives and saves money in the process,” noted HFSR Program Manager Rebecca Severin.
“Our Healthy Start Coalition is privileged to be the conduit to deliver these much-needed services in these counties. We are grateful to the legislature and Ounce of Prevention for making our children a priority. Our mission of ‘improving the lives of mothers and children’ includes building family resiliency through evidence-based parenting education. Healthy Start assures that babies are born healthy and Healthy Families will carry the torch to make sure those families thrive,” said Donna Hagan, Executive Director of Healthy Start Coalition of Jefferson, Madison & Taylor Counties.
Families who face a combination of challenging circumstances linked to increased risk of child abuse and neglect, such as teen pregnancy, single parenting, lack of a high school education, unrealistic expectations of parenting and child development, domestic violence, substance abuse, and mental health issues, voluntarily participate in home-visiting services that begin during pregnancy or shortly after the birth of a child.
The numbers speak for themselves:
- 98% of children were free from abuse and neglect during and one year following completion of services.
- 99% of mothers did not have a subsequent pregnancy within two years.
- 99% of participants and 100% of their children were connected to a primary healthcare provider.
- 84% of participants improved their self-sufficiency.
For more information on Healthy Families Florida, visit www.healthyfamiliesfla.org.
Healthy Families Seven Rivers is a free, community-based, voluntary home-visiting program designed to support and educate parents through the first years of their child’s life. The first five years of a child’s life sets the foundation for the type of adult he or she will become, so the role of Healthy Families Seven Rivers is to educate parents on healthy parenting options and to support them through this important, and sometimes stressful, time.
Program Activities Include:
- Family health and wellness
- Parent education and support
- Hands-on activities that increase positive parent-child relationships
- Home safety
- Child safety and development
- Promotion of self-sufficiency
- Resource linkage (including emergency assistance, food, job training, health insurance, etc.)
- Parent incentive program
Pregnant mothers and mothers with babies three months or younger who live in one of the following counties:
For more about the program or to make a referral please contact Rebecca Severin at (850) 948-2741 or at firstname.lastname@example.org.