Healthy Families Project and Kwanlin Dun First Nation's Project

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The Healthy Families model, which is based on the Healthy Families America program, was tested in five sites across Canada: three sites in Edmonton (Norwood Child and Family Resource Centre, Bent Arrow Traditional Healing Society, and Terra Association), the Kwanlin Dun First Nation Healthy Families Program in Whitehorse, Yukon, and Best Start Healthy Families in Charlottetown, Prince Edward Island. The Kwanlin Dun First Nation Healthy Families Program (Yukon site) focused primarily on Aboriginal children.

Each site targeted parents with children aged 0-6 who were considered at high risk for future criminal behaviour and victimization. The aim was to reduce the risk factors associated with anti-social behaviour, such as delinquency and criminal behaviour, child abuse and neglect, poor parenting skills, exposure to domestic violence and parental criminality.

The projects utilized an intensive family home visitation program to provide parents with the support they need to get their children off to a healthy start in life. The home visits were tailored to the needs of each family and were conducted by family support workers. Each visit consists of three major components: parenting, child development and parent-child interaction. The aim was to reduce the multiple risk factors associated with anti-social behaviour, delinquency and criminal behaviour, child abuse, neglect, poor parenting skills, exposure to domestic violence and parental criminality.

Project assessment

Process and outcome evaluations were conducted. Standardized instruments were used to collect data. Administered over a 32-month period, they provided pre- and post-information on participants in the study.

Evaluation findings reported on the number of clients who completed the standardized measures in five sites across Canada. Between July 1999 and December 2001, outcome data was collected from 370 clients across these five sites. The comparison group was based on Prince Edward Island's families (n=18 control families).

Key findings

The process evaluation showed that:

More specific to Kwanlin Dun Project, the process evaluation found that:

Overall, the outcome evaluation showed that:

Lessons learned

Lessons learned included:

Conclusion

The Healthy Families Project was successful in working in partnership with parents and connecting them and their children with culturally-relevant services in their community. Knowledge about the Healthy Families model has been gained in a First Nation Community and follow-up assessments will provide useful information on how well the Healthy Families curriculum can be adapted to First Nations communities.

Early intervention programs, such as 'Healthy Families', have been found to be successful for supporting families at-risk and providing a healthy and safe environment for their children.

For more information or to receive a copy of the final evaluation report please contact the National Crime Prevention Centre at 1-800-830-3118, or visit our website.

You can also visit the website of the Healthy Families Canada at: www.healthy-families.ca.

Register for the NCPC mailing list to receive information from the Centre.

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