Wednesday, July 17, 2024

Hampton’s Healthy Families welcomes 21st graduating class of the home visit program

The graduates posed for a group shot after the ceremony. (HNNDaily Photo/courtesy of Hampton Healthy Families)
The graduates posed for a group shot after the ceremony. (HNNDaily Photo/courtesy of Hampton Healthy Families)

HAMPTON — Healthy Families’ Healthy Start Program honored 35 graduates from their home visitation program with a graduation ceremony Thursday.

The Healthy Start Program’s 21st annual graduation ceremony honors the families that have completed the five-year home visitation program, marking the transition from home life to school life, said Chenequa Hayden, an administrator with Healthy Families.

She described the Healthy Start Program as a home visitation program for new and expecting parents, favoring mothers in their first or second trimester of pregnancy.

This year’s graduation is special because fathers will get a chance to share their experiences of raising a child in the program, Hayden said.

This is part of a larger, national push to get fathers more involved in the early development of their child’s life, Hayden said.

From birth to age 5

The program is one of the many ways Healthy Families work to fulfill their mission of ensuring all children are born healthy, enter kindergarten prepared to succeed, achieve academic success while engaged in the community, and graduate healthy and prepared for a lifetime of success, according to their website. 

Hayden said the program starts with a home visit by a case worker who then determines if the family is a fit for the Healthy Start program.

She said most families are eligible, the only main stipulation is that they are a resident of the city.

They serve 600 families on average each month just for the home visitation program, Hayden said.

Parents are screened for the program by asking about family history, mainly parenting techniques and care-giving.

After a family is placed in the program, they are assigned a case worker who will work with them at home to develop good parenting skills and techniques.

“The only way to change patterns is generational,” Hayden said.

Hayden believes by working with families on parenting skills and techniques that there will be positive impacts for the community.

Over the years Healthy Families America, the national nonprofit of which Hampton Healthy Families is a local program site, has found the home visitation program to be successful.

Healthy Families America is dedicated to promoting child well-being and preventing the abuse and neglect of our nation’s children through home visiting services, according to their mission statement.

The city has seen healthier pregnancies, lowered incidents of child abuse and neglect and they have reduced low birth weights since the beginning of the program, Hayden said.

She said the city values the work that is being done by Hampton Healthy Families and she believes they are laying a healthy foundation.

To learn more about Hampton Healthy Families, click here.

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