Healthy Families

Program snapshot

Age group: Not age specific

Gender: Mixed (male and female)

Population served: Aboriginal/Indigenous; Families

Topic: Alcohol and/or drug use; Crime issues involving a mental health disorder or other health disorder; Family (domestic) violence/child maltreatment; Gang and/or related criminal activities

Setting: Rural/remote area; Community-based setting

Location: Alberta

Number of completed Canadian outcome evaluation studies: 0

Continuum of intervention: Secondary crime prevention

Brief Description

The Healthy Families project was created to support and provide information to current and expectant parents of the Bigstone Cree Nation who are at risk of trauma, violence, mental health issues, and abuse. The program’s goal was to impact their ability to parent effectively and provide new avenues to address their issues.

The program was later expanded to include families with newborns and older siblings. Families were assisted with obtaining necessary government documentation, like birth certificates and Child Tax Credits for their children. The community became involved by dropping off unsolicited donations of goods. Workshops held by workers included traditional parenting, Healing the Caregiver, crafts, cooking, regular mental health presentations, personal care classes, quilting, etc.


The main goal of the Healthy Families project is to:

  • Enhance the parenting skills of individuals, families and the community of Bigstone Cree Nation through the interventions, collaborations and delivery of the Healthy Families pilot project. 

The project aims to:

  • Decrease the number of youth getting into trouble, including gang activities;
  • Assist in improving living conditions;
  • Enable people to build stronger family units;
  • Reduce spousal abuse;
  • Reduce/eliminate gang violence;
  • Reduce alcohol and prescription drug abuse;
  • Increase parent responsibility; and
  • Prevent teenage pregnancy.


The appropriate clientele for the Healthy Families project are at-risk Aboriginal expectant, new, and current parents who receive mentoring and in-home support to gain the knowledge, experience, and assistance they need to create a healthy environment for their children.

Core Components

The Bigstone Health Commission adapted the Healthy Families America (HFA) model to address identified areas of concern expressed by stakeholders and community leaders of the Bigstone Cree Nation – specifically the model addressed the needs of families at-risk of problems due to lack of parenting resources. The program’s goal was to impact their ability to parent effectively and provide new avenues to address their issues.

Although the HFA model was not designed specifically for crime prevention, it was felt that strengthening new and expectant parents in their parenting role would likely reduce the incidence of criminal behavior in the future.

Implementation Information

Some of the critical elements for the implementation of this program or initiative include the following:

  • Organizational requirements: The lead organization should be able to implement a community-based approach to the Healthy Families America model to reach the targeted population of expectant and new parents with the desire to provide culturally appropriate resources and access to services.
  • Partnerships: Limited information on this topic.
  • Training and technical assistance: Limited information on this topic.
  • Risk assessment tools: Limited information on this topic.
  • Materials & resources: Limited information on this topic.

International Endorsements

The most recognized classification systems of evidence-based crime prevention programs have classified this program or initiative as follows:

  • Blueprints for Healthy Youth Development: Not applicable.
  • Crime Solutions/OJJDP Model Program Guide: Not applicable.
  • SAMHSA's National Registry of Evidence-based Programs and Practices: Not applicable.
  • Coalition for Evidence-Based Policy: Not applicable.

Gathering Canadian Knowledge

Canadian Implementation Sites

The Healthy Families project was implemented in Bigstone Cree Nation (Alberta) from 2011 to 2014. Funding was provided through the Safe Communities Innovation Fund (SCIF), Government of Alberta.

Main Findings from Canadian Outcome Evaluation Studies

No information available.

Cost Information

$750,000.00 over 3 years.

Insufficient information on the social return on investment (SROI). 


Alberta Community Crime Prevention Organizations. (2015). Social Return on Investment (SROI) Case Study: Healthy Families. Recipient of Safe Communities Innovation Fund, Government of Alberta. Available from:

For more information on this program, contact:

Bigstone Health Commission
Health Director
Telephone: (780) 891-2000

Record Entry Date - 2018-02-23
Record Updated On - 2021-04-29
Date modified: