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Healthy Families Rhode Island: Improving Family Health

Healthy Families Rhode Island

Healthy Families Rhode Island is part of Healthy Families America, a national evidence-based family visiting program that provides free, voluntary, confidential services. The program pairs expectant mothers or families with newborns (younger than two weeks old) with a Family Support Worker, who provides family visiting services to the family and their child until the child’s third birthday.  To see videos about the program please click here.

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Program Goals

  • Build and maintain partnerships in communities that engage families in family visiting, either prenatally or at birth.
  • Promote and strengthen positive parent-child relationships.
  • Promote positive growth and development in children.
  • Build the strengths of families and their protective factors.

Who We Serve

Expectant mothers and families with newborns. Families may have more than one child.  The program is designed mainly for overburdened parents who have had some form of early childhood trauma. Family Service of Rhode Island provides services to young, low-income parents in Providence and West Warwick.

What We Do

Identify the needs of families

Before a family visitor (Family Support Worker) from Healthy Families Rhode Island begins family visits, a Family Resource Specialist visits with a family to see if they want or need long-term visiting services. For some families, this kind of visiting is not right or they need other services, such as a parenting class. The Family Resource Specialist works with families to identify what they want and need.

Provide parents the support they need to be successful

Family Support Workers aim to establish trusting, consistent relationships. This kind of relationship helps families grow and change.  Family Support Workers can help expectant mothers and families access community resources and supports, plan for education and jobs, and decrease social isolation.  They also offer encouragement and emotional support.

Help parents develop positive attitudes about their roles as parents

During visits, Family Support Workers focus on supporting strong, healthy relationships between parents (including fathers) and children.  They help parents read their children’s cues and respond in nurturing ways.  Family Support Workers also help parents become more self-sufficient and confident in their roles as parents.   

Increase parents’ knowledge of their children’s development

Family Support Workers work with parents so that they understand their children's development, including age-appropriate milestones.  Using the Growing Great Kids curriculum, Family Support Workers foster nurturing parent-child interactions and encourage brain development and stimulation through play.

Improve family health

Family Support Workers link families to patient-centered medical homes for both parents and children. If pregnant women enroll, Family Support Workers help connect them with prenatal care.  They work with parents to help ensure that children are up to date on immunizations and receive all their well-child visits. They also work with families to create a safe home environment for the entire family.

What You Should Do

Anyone may refer a pregnant woman or family with a newborn to Healthy Families Rhode Island. Referrals are taken from:

  • Healthcare and social service providers, including WIC, if they think an expectant mother would benefit from visiting
  • Schools
  • Families (self-referrals or family member referrals)

If you are interested in participating in Healthy Families Rhode Island, would like to refer an expectant mother or family with a newborn (younger than two weeks old), or have questions about the program, please call Family Service of RI in Providence at 401-519-2308 (English and Spanish).

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