Denver, CO (March 23, 2021) – Illuminate Colorado (Illuminate) announced the organization has become the state office for Healthy Families America (HFA), Prevent Child Abuse America’s (PCA America) signature home visiting program and one of the leading family support and evidence-based home visiting programs in the United States. 

This expansion of Illuminate programs and services strengthening families, organizations and communities in Colorado means the organization will coordinate communication with HFA sites within the state, serve as a conduit of communication to the national office and provide a voice in Colorado for HFA, while advocating for a continuum of home visiting services in Colorado.

A wide range of studies show that when parents participate in HFA, children are healthier, experience fewer adverse childhood events and demonstrate long-term improvements in school performance.

Dr. Melissa Merrick

President and Chief Executive Officer, Prevent Child Abuse America

“Our organization has a strong history of partnering on national, state and local levels to promote the benefits of home visiting in Colorado. We know that early, nurturing relationships are the foundation for healthy development and essential for children to reach their full potential. As the Colorado Chapter of PCA America, we are excited to take on this new role supporting the local HFA sites here in Colorado,” said Jade Woodard executive director for Illuminate. “Home visiting programs should be a critical component of every community’s plan to prevent child maltreatment. Places where everyone recognizes our shared obligation to help parents be the parents they want to be are societies where children and families thrive,” continued Woodard. 

HFA is a two-generation home visiting model proven to demonstrate powerful outcomes for children, parents and communities. The home visiting model has the highest rating of “well-supported” by Title IV-E Prevention Services Clearinghouse, giving states and county human service agencies the ability to pay for HFA services with federal resources made available through the Family First Prevention Services Act

“A wide range of studies show that when parents participate in HFA, children are healthier, experience fewer adverse childhood events and demonstrate long-term improvements in school performance,” said Dr. Melissa Merrick, president and chief executive officer of PCA America, a nonprofit dedicated to addressing child trauma. “Additionally, we see an increase in family functioning and self-sufficiency, as well as broad health and fiscal benefits—these are among the many positive impacts HFA has on communities, and we’re proud to be partnering with Illuminate Colorado to extend home visiting across the state.”

Studies of HFA show parents experience dramatic gains in education, leading to increased family income and tax revenues for the community. Children in families involved in HFA score higher on tests measuring cognitive development and improve academic performance. Healthier birth rates, lower complications, and reductions in child neglect and abuse are also correlated with participation in HFA, with rigorous studies showing a 70% reduction in pregnancy complications and 48% fewer cases of low-weight births. 

Much is being done right now to ultimately ensure home visiting is available to families in all Colorado communities. The Early Childhood Leadership Commission Home Visitation Investment Task Force is working to develop a strategy to scale a home visiting continuum in Colorado. In addition to serving on this task force, Illuminate is proud to support and collaborate through multiple coalitions working to strengthen and advance effective home visiting services across Colorado and prevent infant and maternal mortality. 

There are two community-based organizations currently using the HFA home visiting model in Colorado; Early Childhood Partners Healthy Families Vail Valley (Healthy Families Vail Valley) program serves families in the Eagle River Valley and the Family Visitor Program Healthy Families Aspen to Parachute program (Family Visitor Programs) serves families in that Colorado region. 

“Since Family Visitor Programs brought the Healthy Families America model to Colorado in 2011, we have anticipated the day HFA could be represented by a state office,” said Sandy Swanson, executive director Family Visitor Programs. “Illuminate’s willingness to take on this role will strengthen and expand the model by making it available to all communities in Colorado.” 

“Healthy Families Vail Valley is thrilled to see the HFA model strengthened in Colorado with the development of Illuminate Colorado as our state intermediary, ” said Megan McGee Bonta, manager, of the Healthy Families Vail Valley program. “It will help build a stronger network to serve and build resilience in Colorado families and children and we look forward to continuing to partner with the organization and the incredible work they are doing!”

Related Topics

Home Visiting in Colorado – 

Most parents need people they can call on once in a while when they need a sympathetic listener, advice or concrete supports. Home visitors help parents bring out the best in themselves by tapping into the skills they already possess. Home visiting programs are proven to have positive impacts on children, families and communities.

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