Published : Wednesday, October 23, 2019 | 4:22 PM
In the main auditorium of the Jeff Seymour Family Center on an overcast Saturday morning, six five-year-olds are the center of attention, but don’t quite know it.
The caps made of construction paper and the oversized Foothill Family t-shirts used as a makeshift gowns don’t exactly convey a traditional graduation, but that is, in fact, what the celebration about. These children and their parents are the first class of graduates from Foothill Family’s Healthy Families America program.
Healthy Families America (HFA), a signature program of Prevent Child Abuse America (PCA America), strives to promote child well-being and prevent the abuse and neglect of children through intensive home visiting. Foothill Family has been providing HFA services in the El Monte and South El Monte community since spring 2014 and after the mandated three-year application process and operation period, the agency was fully accredited in 2017. The national accreditation recognizes Foothill Family as a provider of high-quality home-visiting services to families who want to improve their child’s health, nutrition, and developmental outcomes.
Thanks to a recent expansion grant through the Department of Public Health, Foothill Family can expand its HFA reach into the San Gabriel and Pomona Valleys.
HFA, an evidence-based practice, is intended to support parents facing challenges that may be identified as “at-risk” – single parenthood; low income; domestic violence; childhood history of abuse or other adverse child experiences; history of substance abuse; or mental health issues. In these situations, it is crucial to enroll mothers prenatally or within three months of birth. Ideally, the family will remain in the program until the child’s fifth birthday to reap the full benefits during these formative developmental years.
“At Foothill Family, we believe that prevention and early intervention establish a foundation for brighter futures,” said Foothill Family Chief Executive Officer Steve Allen. “With programs like HFA in place to support families from their earliest stages, we help to set them on a path to success which develops confidence, strengthens bonds, and builds stability. Those are ingredients for healthy families, which are the backbone of thriving communities.”
In line with Foothill Family’s mission to empower children and families through community-based services that advance growth and development, HFA was designed to promote positive parenting and enhance child health. The program connects with families through community partners like hospitals and pediatricians to find linkages to community resources, answer the many questions that arise in parenting, and provide them with individualized support, all within the familiarity and convenience of the family’s own home. The HFA program is strengths-based, family-centered, and culturally sensitive and services are free, accessible, and voluntary.
“Foothill Family is proud to celebrate our first graduating families from the HFA program,” said Foothill Family’s Healthy Families America Program Manager Meka Webb. “Each day, our HFA team works tirelessly to empower parents with tools and knowledge that have cascading benefits within families, throughout communities, and for generations ahead. We look forward to program growth and expansion in the coming years.”
Founded in 1926, Foothill Family empowers children and families to achieve success in relationships, school, and work through community-based services that advance growth and development. Through its leadership in supporting at-risk populations in Southern California, the agency has earned a reputation for providing high-quality services aimed at achieving brighter futures in which individuals and families thrive, communities are strengthened, and generations are enriched. Programs include mental health and school-based services for children, a focus on early childhood development and parent education, youth and family services ranging from programs for pregnant and parenting teens to prevention and treatment for child abuse, domestic violence, and elder abuse.
For more information, please call (626) 993-3000 or visit www.foothillfamily.org.