Healthy Families Program Accredited for Quality Service by Prevent Child Abuse America

August 22, 2019.

Lakewood, NJ – Prevent Child Abuse America (PCA America) announced today that the Healthy Families America (HFA) affiliate, Healthy Families of Ocean County has been accredited as a provider of high-quality home visiting services to pregnant families and families with infants and young children.

HFA is the signature program of PCA America and has been providing home visiting services for nearly 30 years. The Healthy Families program of Preferred Behavioral Health Group (PBHG) provides these services to expectant and new parents and is currently serving 50 families in Ocean County. HFA connects with families through community partners like hospitals and pediatricians to support parents, meeting within the familiarity and convenience of the family’s own home. HFA is an accessible, voluntary and well received service.

“HFA sites utilize evidence-based best practices to provide individualized support to families when needed most, and linkages to community services,” said Melissa Merrick, President and CEO of PCA America.  “We congratulate Healthy Families of Ocean County and we commend the staff for their leadership and commitment that has contributed to this most notable and highly regarded achievement.”

The accreditation process is based upon a stringent set of 12 critical elements grounded in more than 30 years of research. The process involves an in-depth examination of the site’s operation, as well as, the quality of the visits made by HFA home visitors.

“We commend the Healthy Families of Ocean County for opening itself up to such an intensive review process,” said Kathleen Strader, National Director of HFA. “We believe that all families and all communities deserve access to quality home visiting services.”  

The Healthy Families program is based in Toms River and works with families throughout northern Ocean County.

“We are proud that our work with families in Ocean County has been recognized by Healthy Families America,” said Annette LaBarbera, Healthy Families program director. “Our trained and compassionate home visitation staff work tirelessly with the parents in the program to provide support, connections, screening, and healthy parent-child interactions.”

Parents participating in the program will learn skills such as caring for a new baby, ensuring the baby is receiving the nutrition needed, promoting healthy child development, and coping with other stresses, such as housing, partner relationships, financial hardships, etc.  that may become heightened with an addition to the family.

PCA America was established in 1972 with the belief that child abuse and neglect is preventable. The not-for-profit, volunteer-based organization is committed to preventing child abuse in all forms through education, research, public awareness, and public policy development. Today, PCA America has 50 statewide chapters. PCA America implemented the Healthy Families America (HFA) initiative in 1992. HFA serves families of all ethnic and socio-economic backgrounds, meeting the needs of close to 600 communities in 38 states, D.C., the U.S. Territories and Israel.

Healthy Families America is an effective and proven evidence-based home visiting program according the U.S. Department of Health & Human Services. PCA America is proud to support HFA and to be part of a national movement dedicated to improving the lives of families and children.

About Preferred Behavioral Health Group

Preferred Behavioral Health Group is the premier mental health and substance use provider serving Ocean and Monmouth Counties and beyond, helping to build up individuals, communities, and families so they can live improved lives, embrace healthy lifestyles, and can enjoy a higher quality of mental, psychological, and physical health. For more information, visit