The COVID-19 health crisis has had widespread consequences for families and their children and created new obstacles for programs that serve them. Despite these challenges, Southwest Human Development’s Healthy Families program has continued providing support for Arizona families and their young children.
Healthy Families is a family support program that assists pregnant mothers and families with newborns in adjusting to the changes and challenges a new child brings. Family Support Specialists cultivate relationships and build trust with enrolled families, helping them create a nurturing, supportive environment for their children. They work with families on a wide range of topics, including prenatal health, breastfeeding support, developmental milestones, well-child appointments and immunizations, postpartum depression, positive parenting techniques and connecting with other services.
When the pandemic began, Healthy Families adapted by implementing health and safety protocols and creating strategies to continue providing quality, seamless services to families in a time that they needed support more than ever.
Prior to the pandemic, Family Support Specialists met with families and provided services in their homes. But as the pandemic escalated in March 2020, program staff pivoted to virtual home visits and phone calls with the families they serve. They also connected with families through text and emails to build a supportive network beyond regular appointments and phone calls. With so many communities practicing social distancing, Healthy Families started holding virtual family socials to help families and their children connect with each other. Healthy Families America and Southwest Human Development helped families navigate the technology process by setting them up with virtual platforms and offering resources for free government phones and phones from the agency.
As vaccinations increased in Maricopa County, it allowed for families to be visited in person again. Even so, the well-being of the families served is always the top priority. Family Support Specialists follow CDC guidelines and take health precautions so that home visits can be conducted safely.
Healthy Families continues to provide families with local resources, focusing on financial resources for those who lost employment or have struggled to find consistent income. Family Support Specialists have guided families through the processes to get assistance for housing and utilities during challenging times. Additionally, Southwest Human Development provided a Family Assistance Fund that helped many of the families provide for their children’s basic needs.
Southwest Human Development’s work to support child development continues despite the challenges presented by the pandemic. We remain committed to providing high-quality programs and resources like Healthy Families for all Arizona families.
For more information about the Healthy Families program, please call or text our Healthy Families team at (602) 427-4725 or email [email protected].