Healthy Families Durham seeks referrals and continues to serve young children and families under new leadership
Posted on 07.17.2014, Thursday

Jan Williams has served as Program Director at Healthy Families Durham since 1999. On July 1, 2014, she moved into the role of Clinical Supervisor, transitioning her former responsibilities into the extremely capable hands of Karen Carmody, Program Director, and Tomeika Watson, Program Manager. The program, one of the Partnership’s Smart Start funded partners, continues to thrive and expand its reach throughout Durham, serving more and more young children and families each year.

L-R: Carmody, Watson, Williams

Healthy Families Durham (HFD) offers voluntary early childhood intervention services through an intensive home visiting program designed to prevent child abuse, improve parent/child interaction, and increase parenting skills. HFD serves families with multiple stressors from pregnancy through 3 years of age using the Parents as Teachers curriculum in the home to enhance child development, health and safety. Family support workers see families in their home on a weekly or bi-weekly basis for up to 3 years and also provide families with case management services to connect them to appropriate community resources.

Now part of the Center for Child & Family Health, HFD began in 1996 with just three family support workers. Today, the program has more than tripled in size, employing 11 family support workers and serving 150 families a year.  The transition in leadership this month has been seamless, thanks to the meticulously thought-out and intentional changes put in place by the staff in order to maintain continuity with families and high quality services.

“I’m really proud of how Healthy Families Durham has grown and evolved. It truly began as a community initiative to prevent child abuse, and while that is still a focus of ours, we’ve really grown the program to include all aspects of child development and family support,” said Carmody.

Each family receives services tailored to their individual needs, and HFD family support workers, many of whom have been trained in Touchpoints and Triple P, employ a variety of evidence-based programs. In addition to the Healthy Families model (using the Parents as Teachers curriculum), families benefit from other programs such as Attachment and Biobehavioral Catch-up (ABC) Intervention – for children ages 6 to 24 months who have experienced early adversity – and Child Parent Psychotherapy (CPP) – a trauma-focused intervention for children birth to 5 years old and parents who have experienced interpersonal violence.

In order to best serve each family, HFD works closely with other local early childhood organizations such as Durham ConnectsDurham Early Head StartEast Durham Children’s Initiative, and Duke Children’s Primary Care. All of these organizations share referrals and collaborate closely in order to find the best fit for every child and parent in need.

In addition to referrals from organizations such as these, HFD also receives a large number of self-referrals. “We love when we get self-referrals,” said Watson, as she explained that many come as a result of positive word of mouth reviews from former participants, reaffirming the effectiveness of the program and the impact on the community.

HFD currently has a relatively short waiting list and has several new staff members joining the team – including a bilingual CPP specialist – so now is the perfect time to make referrals for families in need of services.

As Williams said, “Healthy Families is in great shape and I couldn’t be happier or more confident as we shift into this transition. We are moving right along, and we’re ready to accept new families and continue to serve even more young children in Durham!”

To make a referral to Healthy Families Durham, please contact Tomeika Watson at 919-419-3474, ext 314. For more information about HFD and the Center for Child & Family Health, please click here.


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