Frequently Asked Questions

What is Healthy Families Georgia?
Healthy Families Georgia (HFG) is a nationally accredited home visiting program for expectant parents and parents of newborns.  HFG services are designed to support parents during the early years of a child’s life.

Is the program targeted to one special audience?
No. Children don’t come with an instruction manual, so HFG is beneficial for single parents, two-parent families, young parents, first time parents, as well as experienced parents.

What are the program components?
HFG services begin with a comprehensive family assessment that looks at a family’s strengths, support system and areas of growth.  Family Support Workers (FSWs) help families identify and capitalize on their strengths while addressing questions, concerns and stressors.

What is a Family Support Worker (FSW)?
FSWs are home visitors who are well-respected community members who not only have experience working with families and children, but who have strong interpersonal and communication skills and a willingness to work with culturally diverse families in the communities in which they serve.

What is the cost of Healthy Families services?
Services are free and participation is voluntary.

How long will I receive Healthy Families services?
Healthy Families home visiting services can begin prenatally and are offered until age 3 at a minimum.  Some sites in Georgia provide services until age 4 or 5.

What happens on a home visit?
Home visits are as unique as the families we serve.  A typical visit will include topics, materials and activities regarding child development, child health, parent-child interaction, brain development, safety, nutrition, discipline, etc.  FSWs plan visits based on the families interest and goals for their child and their family.  Developmental screens are provided 3 times per year and referrals to community resources are made.  Family stressors and challenges are addressed using a family’s strengths.  This strength-based, solution-focused approach to family support work empowers parents to become advocates for their children.

How often will I see my FSW?
Prenatal families receive at least two visits per month until the birth of their baby.  Families with newborns receive weekly visits for at least 6 months. As a family gains confidence and increases their support, network visits are reduced to bi-weekly.

How long will the FSW stay?
Typical visits last a minimum of 60 minutes each.

Will I get to know other parents?
Some HFG Programs also offer group activities that offer parents an opportunity to share with each other. Parents are offered an opportunity to develop their leadership skills through participation in the planning and implementation of these group activities.

How does HFG benefit children?
HFG provides parents information and fun activities to enhance their child’s physical and brain development during the critical early years of life.  The experiences a child has during the first 3-5 years lasts a lifetime.  Children who are nurtured, loved and cared for by responsive parents develop a sense of themselves that says “I am important, I matter, I can get my needs met”. They also develop a sense of the larger world as a trusting, nurturing, safe place.  Children feel confident, friendly, cooperative and curious.  This leads to success in school and the larger community.

Why is it important to start home visits so early?
Current research supports the idea that early (prenatally or within the first 3 months from birth) support and information sharing make a difference in birth weight, social and emotional development, brain development and family functioning. The prenatal period of time offers a great window of opportunity for the home visitor to establish a trusting relationship, and focus intently on the mother and father. Based on best practice standards, with a special emphasis on the psycho-social issues facing expectant parents, home visitors will learn how to help parents enhance prenatal bonding, stimulate brain development and reduce stress, thereby increasing healthy mother/baby birth outcomes.  Once the child is born services extend their focus to include child development in all domains, safety, health, nutrition, reading and responding to baby’s cues, enhancing family functioning and family self-sufficiency.