The state health department has announced more funding for a home visiting program for families and children at risk. The Healthy Families America program aims to prevent child maltreatment before it starts.
Several community agencies will share $2 million dollars in additional funding to help serve more families through a national home visiting program. The program is called Healthy Families America. And it enrolls pregnant women and families who are at risk of mistreating those children – whether it’s because of a history of trauma, substance abuse, or another factor.
A trained specialist works with the family in the home until the child is a few years old, connecting them with services, helping them understand healthy child development, and creating a safe environment. The idea is to prevent maltreatment before it starts, because research has shown that a child’s first experiences have a lasting impact on the brain’s architecture.
Rhode Island’s first Healthy Families America sites launched a couple of years ago in Woonsocket and Providence. The health department says this infusion of funds will help the program expand to several more cities and serve 400 more families.