Impact on Communities via the Healthy Families America program

How can a family support program have an impact on communities? Our research shows that Healthy Families America does this in many ways! Expanding, or “scaling up”, Healthy Families America to serve the entire community offers measurable improvements on child and family well-being. Further, Healthy Families America builds and sustains community partnerships through the creation of community advisory boards, staff training  on local family resources, linkages and referrals, and more.

Community-Wide Impact Study

A ground-breaking study commissioned by  Hampton Virginia city leaders found significant community benefits to the Healthy Families America program(VA5). HFA and its impact on communities

  • The study examined rates of change in several key benchmark areas, comparing Hampton to similar communities.
  • The strongest results showed a greater rate of improvement for Hampton on rates of child maltreatment, child maltreatment fatalities, and infant mortality.
  • Hampton’s costs related to these outcomes indicate savings compared to state costs, as seen in this accompanying graph.

Improved Birth Spacing and Outcomes

Delaying subsequent pregnancies helps young families achieve greater financial security. More HFA moms waited at least two years  to have another child (FL4, NC, VA2b). HFA also improves birth outcomes, including low birth weight, a problem with tremendous public and personal costs. When moms enroll in HFA before the third trimester, studies report positive impacts on birth weight (NY2, FL3, DC, NJ1, VA4), and fewer birth complications (VA2).

Lower Education Costs

The largest long-term rigorous study of HFA to date (NY2) shows impacts on academic success, with fewer children retained in first grade or receiving special education services. Other rigorous studies show early indicators of school readiness (AK, CA, GA, NY1).

Improved Family Self-Sufficiency

In multiple studies, HFA parents show significant gains in their education (AZ2, CA, NY1, DC, FL4, MA1, MD2, NJ1) that can lead to increased family income and tax base.

Reduced Child Maltreatment

Several rigorous studies show reductions in child maltreatment measured via parent self-report (AK, AZ2, CA, HI2, NY2), or substantiated reports (HI1, VA5). Strongest results on substantiated reports are for select subgroups (MA2, NY2, FL4, OR), such as first-time moms who enrolled prenatally (NY2).

The Bottom Line

At full-scale (serving an entire community), Healthy Families America has the potential to impact the community across the board and achieve community-wide benefits, including intermediate system change and long-term impacts on community health.

NOTE: State abbreviations and numbers (i.e. AZ1) refer to evaluation studies; those in italics indicate Randomized Control Trials. 

Related Resources

Stats & Factsheets

Impact on Parents in the Healthy Families America program

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