Healthy Families provides a home visiting program in Fauquier, Rappahannock, Madison and Orange counties designed to assist families and their children from birth to age 5. All Healthy Families services are free and voluntary with the primary purpose of providing guidance and support by trained professionals to get new families off to the best start possible. Healthy Families is available to anyone who is expecting a child or has a newborn and is interested in receiving information on parenting and community resources.
Family Support Specialists help parents through the initial days of sleeplessness, breastfeeding, scheduling and providing for their new family member. They also ensure that parents are connected to all appropriate resources for which they might qualify such as Medicaid, Social Security, SNAP, WIC, TANF, ITC and other child/family services. Family Support Specialists help parents find a pediatrician, learn recommended immunization schedules and commit to prioritizing their child’s health above all other concerns. After those first exciting (and overwhelming) months, the program continues to support new families by helping them identify their strengths and areas in which they want to learn and grow. This is where the continuum of support truly begins.
Areas of home-based parenting education may include:
- Developmental benchmarks and milestones for children birth through age 5 (developmental screenings are included).
- Safety concerns, including childproofing homes, dangers of secondhand smoke, safe transport and “safe sleep.”
- Positive parenting skills, positive discipline and early childhood play activities to support learning and growth for their children.
- Healthy ways to cope with the stresses of parenting.
- Setting education, employment and lifestyle goals for the family.
- Nutrition and resources in the area to access healthy food
“Having a child can be challenging. There are really no words to describe the feeling, but having somebody – no, having a whole entire program full or encouragement makes every day easier.” — Healthy Families Participant