Healthy Families America (HFA)®
Model effectiveness research report last updated: 2020
HFA is theoretically rooted in the belief that early, nurturing relationships are the foundation for life-long, healthy development. Building upon attachment and bio-ecological systems theories and the tenets of trauma-informed care, interactions between direct service providers and families are relationship-based, designed to promote positive parent–child relationships and healthy attachment, strengths-based, family-centered, culturally sensitive, and reflective.
HFA includes (1) screenings and assessments to determine families at risk for child maltreatment or other adverse childhood experiences; (2) home visiting services; and (3) routine screening and assessment of parent–child interactions, child development, and maternal depression. In addition, many HFA sites offer services such as parent support groups and father involvement programs. HFA encourages local sites to implement additional services such as these that further address the specific needs of their communities and target populations.
HFA seeks to engage parents facing challenges such as single parenthood; low income; childhood history of abuse and other adverse child experiences; and current or previous issues related to substance abuse, mental health issues, and/or domestic violence.
Individual HFA sites select the specific characteristics of the target population they plan to serve (such as first-time parents, parents on Medicaid, or parents within a specific geographic region); however, the HFA National Office requires that all families complete the parent survey (formerly the Kempe Family Stress Checklist), a comprehensive psychosocial assessment used to determine the presence of various factors associated with increased risk for child maltreatment or other adverse childhood experiences.
The HFA National Office requires that sites enroll families before the child’s birth or within three months of the child’s birth. After families are enrolled, HFA sites offer them services until the child’s third birthday, and preferably until the child’s fifth birthday.