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Local Home Visitation Program Receives National Accreditation

Lisa Pachnos

Tuesday, November 5, 2013 • 2:36pm

Prevent Child Abuse America (PCA America) announced today that the Healthy Families America (HFA) affiliate, Project Self-Sufficiency, 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.

“Parents want to be good parents; and as parents we all have had many questions when it comes to raising a child,” said Jim Hmurovich, President and CEO of PCA America.  “HFA’s well-trained home visitors are trusted sources in their own communities.  They help provide answers to those questions, individualized support when it is needed most, and linkages to other community services.  HFA requires community agency involvement and the commitment of community leaders.  As we congratulate Project Self-Sufficiency we also recognize the state and the community leadership that has contributed to success in Sussex 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 Project Self-Sufficiency for opening itself up to such an intensive review process,” said Cydney Wessel, National Director of HFA.  “We believe that all families and all communities deserve access to quality home visiting services.”

Once a family elects to participate in Project Self-Sufficiency’s Healthy Families home visitation program, they will receive visits approximately once a week, depending on the age and health of their children.  Typical visits from a home vistor usually last about an hour and include a discussion about topics such as health, nutrition and developmental milestones.   Home visitors receive extensive training in a wide range of potential issues for new parents, including caring for a crying baby, proper nutrition, healthy child development, and stress management. 

“Project Self-Sufficiency’s Healthy Families home visitation program is an important component of the agency’s services to low-income families in northwestern New Jersey,” commented Claire Willetts, Program Coordinator at Project Self-Sufficiency.  “Families who participate in the home visitation program are also able to take advantage of the other services we provide, such as parenting skills workshops and career guidance.  We have always been proud of the home visitation services provided by Project Self-Sufficiency, and this accreditation demonstrates the strength of our commitment and the high quality of our services.”

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:  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, and partner relationships that may become heightened with an addition to the family.

“When parental stress can be managed effectively, children enjoy safer, healthier and more loving experiences, regardless of the parent’s income or standing,” says Hmurovich.

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, the District of Columbia, 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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