Healthy Families America and Great Kids, Inc. - A Strategic Alliance
Healthy Families America and Great Kids, Inc. are pleased to have entered into a strategic partnership focused on the development & delivery of training & curriculum for Healthy Families America programs. As the current state and federal accountability standards require use of evidence-based home visiting models and demonstration of program fidelity, it is essential that the HFA network of direct service providers utilize high quality, cutting edge skills and strategies aimed at best practices for supporting the families participating in HFA programs. As a result, HFA & GKI have entered into a strategic alliance to create single versions of the Integrated Strategies for Home visiting (FSW) and Parent Survey for Community Outreach (FAW) trainings, thereby incorporating the 20 years of success both entities have had.
About Growing Great Kids - A Message from Cyd Wessel, National Director, Healthy Families America
The HFA model is unique in the ways we engage high risk families, the ways in which we engage and retain parents who themselves have experienced trauma, issues home visitors address with families and in the foundation of each visit. Because Great Kids, Inc. and the Healthy Families America National Office have been working collaboratively for twenty years, the Growing Great Kids curriculum is well aligned with the HFA model and offers the most ideal fit for HFA home visitors for several key reasons. To illustrate this, let’s focus on two key questions when selecting curriculum for use with families. I have identified how the Growing Great Kids curriculum specifically aligns with HFA based on these two questions.
1. How is the curricula designed to serve the types of families served by HFA and foster the growth of secure attachment?
- The HFA assessment process identifies overburdened and vulnerable families. These are families for whom we are concerned that bonding and attachment may be compromised. It is essential to utilize a curriculum designed to focus on bonding and attachment and to interact with parents who themselves experienced trauma and adverse childhood experiences. These parents often find it challenging to feel for and empathize with their children because they may not have received the love and nurturing parenting that creates that ability naturally.
- GGK has specialized strategies for motivating overburdened parents to nurture their infants and young children and to support their early learning and development.
- A primary GGK focus is on growing nurturing, empathic parent-child relationships and secure attachments. There is a strong emphasis on developing parental empathy and supporting parents in responding sensitively to the needs and development of their children.
- GGK assists home visitors in teaching parents how to respond to their baby’s needs. Overburdened parents are not always honed in on their baby’s cues and communication. GGK helps home visitors keep parents connected through Daily Do’s and activities that illustrate the cause and effect of parenting (i.e., if I am responsive to my baby’s crying today, my baby will feel confident and secure and eventually she will cry less).
- GGK integrates the latest information on supporting early brain development into daily parenting practices. This, in turn builds the parents confidence.
- GGK utilizes a solution focused format, essentially creating “teachable moments” by asking parents what knowledge they have about a certain topic before providing information. The curriculum is not scripted, but creates a structure for conversation building. Each module gives step-by-step interactive questions to actively engage parents with the materials so they do not feel they are being given advice or being talked down to.
2. How does the curriculum support the home visitor-parent partnership and enhance or compliment the training HFA home visitors receive in Core?
- HFA Core Training (Integrated Strategies For Home Visiting) lays a foundation of Reflective Communication Strategies and other skill sets for building on parental competencies and addressing concerns. We want to ensure home visitors continue to anchor back to and utilize these tools throughout the course of services.
- GGK was designed to anchor back to the Reflective Strategies and actually references them in the Growing Great Families Modules. Modules that are specifically designed to build Protective Factors for children, strengthen family foundations, foster the growth of problem solving skills, and cultivate parental resilience.
- GGK Supports staff in developing the skills needed to address difficult issues with families.
- GGK is more than a curriculum. It is also a staff development program. Supervisors learn how to build staff competence and confidence in 6 areas. Supervisors receive monthly guides for continuing to build staff competencies following GGK Seminars. Post training consultation is offered at no additional charge.
- Families are actually utilized during the training to allow for hands on practical experiences by home visitors with the GGK curriculum during training, preparing them to be fully ready to use the curriculum following their certification seminar./li>
As we continue to grow and strengthen the HFA model it has become increasingly clear that home visitors need a curriculum that supports them in their role as a partner to parents, not as an expert. Additionally, the curriculum must have a strong focus on the parent-child relationship. Not merely from a child development perspective, but from a bonding and attachment standpoint.
In summary, the Growing Great Kids Curriculum is an ideal fit for The Healthy Families America model.
HFA Affiliated programs should contact Healthy Families America for scheduling Integrated Strategies for
Home Visiting and Parent Survey for Community Outreach, core trainings for home visitors, family assessment
workers and supervisors/program managers.