Healthy Families America

Healthy Families America (HFA) is a nationally recognized, evidence-based home visiting model designed to work with overburdened families who are at-risk for adverse childhood experiences, including child maltreatment. Launched in 1992, HFA was developed as a direct response to the US Advisory Board on Child Abuse and Neglect report, issued in 1991, calling for immediate and urgent attention directed at the “national emergency” of child abuse in the United States. A second report concentrated its recommendations on the federal government’s role and strongly emphasized the importance of making prevention a key strategy by implementing voluntary neonatal home visitation programs. Since 1992, HFA sites have served hundreds of thousands of families, and on average sites serve more than 75,000 families annually in 40 states, the District of Columbia, American Samoa, Guam, the Northern Commonwealth of the Mariana Islands, Puerto Rico, US Virgin Islands, and Canada.

In February 2011, the United States Department of Health and Human Services named HFA as a proven home visiting model after a thorough and transparent review of the home visiting research literature that looked at more than 250 home visiting models. The HFA model’s effectiveness was based fifty (50) studies illustrating its effectiveness in eight (8) areas: Child Development and School Readiness; Child Health; Family Economic Self-Sufficiency; Linkages and Referrals; Maternal Health; Positive Parenting Practices; Reductions in Child Maltreatment; and, Reductions in Juvenile Delinquency, Family Violence, and Crime. HFA is a home visiting model equipped to work with parents who may have histories of trauma, and who may experience intimate partner violence, mental health and/or substance abuse issues. The HFA model is theoretically rooted in the belief that early, nurturing relationships are the foundation for life-long, healthy development. Well trained home visitors provide services in family’s homes providing them an opportunity to experience the family’s living environment, to develop first-hand knowledge of the strengths and stressors of the home environment, to implement home safety assessments with the family, and to engage the family on “their turf”. Services are initiated prenatally or right after the birth of a baby and are offered voluntarily, intensively and over the long-term, for a minimum of 3 years after the birth of the baby and in many cases up to the child’s fifth birthday.

The HFA National Office is responsible for ensuring the model is implemented with quality and fidelity by making certain sites and staff is equipped with the knowledge and skills necessary to implement the model and to help mitigate the impact of serious stressors in the lives of families being served. For more than twenty years, the HFA national office has focused on both expanding and sustaining HFA by assisting states in building their own infrastructures for advocacy, funding, training, quality assurance and evaluation. Furthermore, the HFA model is built upon a set of 12 research-based critical elements that provide a benchmark in which quality is measured, and requires its sites to successfully complete a comprehensive and rigorous accreditation process linked to best practice standards. All of these services ensure HFA families receive quality services with proven results.

HFA programs currently serve an estimated 86,000 families annually. Forty five percent of families are Caucasian, 27% Latino, and 22% African American. Families of Native American, Asian/Pacific Islander, and other origins make up 6% of participants. The majority of sites (75%) now serve families with more than one child, versus focusing solely on first-time parents like many other models do. These families tend to be single (69%), low income (72%) and 29 or younger (81%) with 63% under the age of 25.

HFA Vision:
All children receive nurturing care from their family essential to leading a healthy and productive life.

To promote child well-being and prevent the abuse and neglect of our nation’s children through home visiting services.

Core Values:
Valuing Children
Strengthening Families
Engaging Communities

HFA Program Goals:

  • Build and sustain community partnerships to systematically engage overburdened families in home visiting services prenatally or at birth.
  • Cultivate and strengthen nurturing parent-child relationships.
  • Promote healthy childhood growth and development.
  • Enhance family functioning by reducing risk and building protective factors.


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Current news

Prevent Child Abuse America, its VA and MD Chapters to Celebrate Great Childhoods at ‘National Pinwheel Garden’ on National Mall

Prevent Child Abuse America, its VA and MD Chapters to Celebrate Great Childhoods at ‘National Pinwheel Garden’on National Mall

General Federation of Women’s Clubs, Sigma Delta Tau,  Kappa Delta and Chartwells K12 to Partner on October 13th event

CHICAGO, IL October 7, 2015 – On Tuesday, October 13, Prevent Child Abuse America and its Virginia and Maryland chapters will celebrate the great childhoods that all children deserve with a “National Pinwheel Garden” at 11:00am ET near the Washington Monument on the National Mall in Washington, D.C. The pinwheel, derived from Prevent Child Abuse America’s Pinwheels for Prevention® campaign, is the symbol for child abuse prevention, introduced by the organization nationally in 2008.

The public and members of event partners General Federation of Women’s Clubs, Sigma Delta Tau, Kappa Delta and Chartwells K12 are being invited to celebrate the people who helped them enjoy great childhoods by having pinwheels planted in their honor in the National Pinwheel Garden.

Individuals can purchase and dedicate pinwheels at www.preventchildabuse.org/greatchildhoods through Monday, October 12. On Tuesday, October 13, the pinwheels will be planted on the National Mall.

“The pinwheel allows us to engage people in a new way,” said Prevent Child Abuse America President and CEO James M. Hmurovich. “It provides us with an engaging device to move beyond merely making people aware of child abuse prevention, but motivating them to take action on its behalf. From acts big and small, from providing busy parents with a break to signing onto letters to Congress, each of us can, and must, play a role in ensuring great childhoods for our nation’s children. This event in the nation’s capital is one more way to convey that message to the country.”

The National Pinwheel Garden is part of a nationwide series of pinwheel-themed events staged by Prevent Child Abuse America and its 50 state chapters throughout the year to promote the actions we can all take to help ensure great childhoods for all children. 

Jared Fogle and the Roles We Can All Play in the Lives of Children

Jared Fogle and the Roles We Can All Play in the Lives of Children

CHICAGO, IL, August 21, 2015 – When we hear stories like that about former Subway spokesperson Jared Fogle who has been charged with child pornography and child prostitution, it can be shocking. It can cause confusion. It can cause anger. And these reactions make sense.

However, we can’t allow these reactions to prevent us from taking action, because at Prevent Child Abuse America we know – and the research shows – that there are steps that each of us can take that can help prevent a situation like this from happening in the future.

At Prevent Child Abuse America we believe that all children deserve great childhoods because our children are our future. This seems like such a simple sentiment, but it drives our work every day, because it speaks to the many things that we want for our children – all children – and our nation: healthy, productive adults who have a positive impact on the communities they live in.

We’re sure that you want that too, but at the same time recognize that it is often difficult to act without knowing what to do. In light of this story, we’ve compiled some ideas on how you can make a difference in the lives of children and families in your community, and help you turn your natural feelings of anger or confusion into positive and proactive steps that can make a difference.

For parents, please note that the children in this story appear to have been accessed on-line, and so parents, you must be conscientious in monitoring your children’s on-line use. To quote the Six Pillars for Prevention from National Coalition to Prevent Child Sexual Abuse and Exploitation, “Today’s children and youth have never known a world that is not filled with technology. Since technology is now an integral part of all our daily lives, parents must be diligent in who can access our children and youth.”

For ideas about how to do this, you can use resources like “A Parent’s Guide to Internet Safety” from the FBI.

For our communities, we must work together to end the demand for children as sexual commodities. Rather than responding after the harm and focusing on how to reduce risk for potential victims, we have to identify factors that feed demand for children to be viewed as sexual objects in mainstream media, takes away barriers to sexually abusing/exploiting children, makes it easier to access child sexual abuse images or children/teens depictions in pornography and/or children to buy to sexually exploit.

And for our legal system, we must attend to child victims of sex trafficking as victims, not sex workers. Children, by definition are developmentally incapable of giving consent, even if they think they did. They are victims and deserve to be treated as such. The adults who exploited them must be held accountable and the children offered the help they deserve.

On this final point, we want to be clear: we should not be prosecuting kids who are victims, and many states have passed Safe Harbor laws to avoid doing just that. You can learn more about these laws at the American Bar Association.

“As we work at Prevent Child Abuse America to prevent the abuse and neglect of children before it can ever occur,” said James M. Hmurovich, President & CEO, Prevent Child Abuse America, “we look at strategies that can involve everyone from individuals and families to communities and law makers. This troubling story of Jared Fogle has lessons for all of these areas, and in all of these areas there are roles we can, and must, play.”

Announcing Anita Odom as Senior Director of Chapter Services

Announcing Anita Odom as the Senior Director of Chapter Services

Prevent Child Abuse America is pleased to announce the addition of Anita Odom to The National Office Team beginning September 14, 2015. She will assume the responsibilities of the Senior Director of Chapter Services.

Anita is a well-known and respected member of our organization having served as the Executive Director of Prevent Child Abuse Florida for the past four years. Thanks to her work with the Ounce of Prevention Fund and the Prevent Child Abuse chapter in Florida, Anita is experienced and knowledgeable of chapter network operations. Her “can-do” attitude will serve all of us well in this new role.

Anita is a graduate of Janus Pannonius University in Hungary, where she graduated Magna Cum Laude with a B.A. in Educational Administration. She is also a graduate of Florida State University, Cum Laude, with a B.S. in Sociology. Prior to beginning her career with the Ounce of Prevention Fund in 2004, Anita worked as a Program Assistant and then Program Coordinator for the National Philharmonie in Hungary.

In addition to serving as the Executive Director of Prevent Child Abuse Florida, Anita is also familiar with our Healthy Families America program thanks to her time working as the Healthy Families Plus Program Coordinator in Florida from September 2006 to September 2011.

Please join me in welcoming Anita to the Prevent Child Abuse America National Office. Anita can be reached at This email address is being protected from spambots. You need JavaScript enabled to view it. .

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