Last month, three families graduated from the Healthy Families™ Home Visiting (HFHV) program. This is the first group of graduating families in the program since its inception in 2012.
The HFHV program is the most intensive program offered at Cope Family Center. Families start while the mother is pregnant and stay in the program until the child enters school, about 5 years. There are many benefits for families who participate in this long-term program. Working with the families early on helps them understand more about the child’s birth and early development. Parents learn more about how their child grows and develops and how they can foster that development in their child. Ultimately this helps build a strong parent-child bond which leads to improved school readiness, increased positive learning behaviors and healthier relationships throughout the child’s life.
While in the program, parents receive ongoing support not only with their child’s development but also with their own. The Family Support Specialists (FSSs) help parents set family goals to set them on a path for success. By the time they graduate, parents are more self-reliant and feel more confident and satisfied in their parenting abilities. They are better able to handle life’s challenges so that their relationship with their children isn’t impacted.
Seeing these children grow from infancy to their first day of school is not only helpful for their development, but extremely rewarding. This would not be possible without all of the incredible support of our donors. You make it possible for Melanie to excel at matching games at every visit; for Octavio to become a great storyteller, sharing a new story with the FSS every time they met; for Joshua to learn how to read with his Mom’s support before he turned 5. These seemingly small milestones will be lifelong memories for these children and their families.
Even though these three families have grown so much and graduated from the program, they will always be part of the Cope family. Now that they’ve graduated, they will continue to be invited to family socials so they can help build a network of support for others. They are also encouraged to seek out additional resources in the community and at Cope including our Triple P® Parenting Class Program. The parents are encouraged to look for leadership roles in the community so that they can advocate on behalf of their children. One of the fathers of a graduating family has joined the Parent Advisory Group to provide input as a parent to help ensure that the HFHV program is always improving.
Witnessing the long-term, positive impacts of the Healthy Families™ Home Visiting program reminds us just how important this work is. By providing this intensive support to families we are helping them model healthier relationships for their children, ultimately setting them on a better path for success and happiness.