Last year, Arizona’s Healthy Families Program received almost $6 million from the State lottery. Do you know what this program is or what it does for new families in Arizona? A lot of people don’t, but it’s a vital service that helps thousands each year.

Whether you’re just hearing of the program for the first time, or have someone in mind who might need help, here’s the rundown:

Arizona’s Healthy Families Program (HFAz)

Healthy Families Arizona (HFAz) is a voluntary program that helps new and expecting parents build a nurturing and productive home life. The program is designed to prevent child abuse and neglect, by providing stability, support, and education to at-risk families.

HFAz strengthens family routine and bonding during the critical early years of a child’s life, when memories and behaviors will affect a lifetime of growth and development. Services include home visit from professionals and referrals from trained staff, with frequency and duration determined on a case-by-case basis.

Through its efforts to support and educate families, the program has reduced child abuse and neglect, provided stability for at-risk families, and helped establish a new generation of healthy families in the state. There are 11 official HFAz programs across 40 sites in 13 Arizonian Counties, and in 2015 alone they assisted over 4,900 families. The results say it all: 96% of participating families have shown no signs of child abuse or neglect.

What Does HFAz Offer?

The HFAz program offers many services to new and struggling families. Here are a few examples:

  • Providing emotional support and encouragement for new parents
  • Teaching appropriate child interaction and effective disciplinary techniques
  • Assessing child development
  • Linking struggling families with appropriate community services, child care, housing services, and health care
  • Encouraging education and proper employment of parents
  • Educating parents about proper childhood nutrition, development, and safety
  • Screening for substance abuse as deemed necessary
  • Supporting working mothers in their return to work

Who Is “At Risk”?

HFAz reaches out to families who may be disadvantaged according to a nuanced list of potential stressors. Such stressors include, but are not limited to:

  • Poverty and unemployment
  • Lack of education
  • Lack of health care or health insurance
  • Evidence of lack of prenatal care, including low birth weight
  • Life stressors like single or teen pregnancies
  • Disabilities or special developmental needs
  • History of abuse in one or both parents’ past
  • Social isolation or a lack of social support system
  • Substance abuse
  • Domestic violence
  • Mental health concerns

Looking Forward

To create a promising future, HFAz, with support from the Arizona Lottery, provides families with the extra help and care that they need to succeed.

New families are the building blocks for a healthy, happy future society. We need to provide for new families and their kids in order to help shape the next generation of workers, activists, caregivers, and members of the community.

Help support this and other great initiatives by buying lottery tickets. With the AutoLotto app, it’s easier than ever to do.

Photo credit: Evgeny Atamanenko / Shutterstock.com

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