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Network Resources: Credentialing


Affiliation and Benefits

In March 1997, PCA America implemented an application process that allows programs to use the Healthy Families name by formally affiliating with the HFA initiative. Established home visitation programs as well as new programs can affiliate with HFA. Completion of this process reflects a commitment to implementing the twelve critical elements, and this commitment is validated when the program completes the HFA accreditation process. All single site programs interested in affiliating with the HFA initiative and using the "Healthy Families" name must complete the Single Site Application.  For the most current application, please contact the director of your region (see list in Regional Centers) or email 

Once affiliation is granted, program sites are considered to be provisional and are added to the Healthy Families site directory. As an HFA program, you will be recognized as a member of a national initiative. Other benefits include: confidence that your home visitation program is following research-based critical elements for home visiting programs; networking with peers from other quality programs; the ability to take advantage of national and state level advocacy for HFA services; access to training, technical assistance and materials; and national public awareness efforts. Provisional sites begin the accreditation process before the end of their two-year anniversary of their affiliation date. The process begins with the completion of an HFA Accreditation Application available by contacting the director of your region.

The purpose of Healthy Families America accreditation is to ensure that the Healthy Families America name, and programs using that name, represent a deep and abiding commitment to delivering the highest quality services possible to families and children. As the HFA initiative continues to grow and expand, accreditation helps assure that HFA will continue to be regarded by the interested public as a quality program, representing a given set of principles.


The HFA accreditation is public recognition by PCA America that a home visitation program is following best practice standards as established by over 20 years of research into what really works in intensive home visitation. There are a multitude of benefits associated with the credential which vary according to how the program chooses to utilize it. Programs that undergo the accreditation process experience the improvement of program operations/implementation. Accredited programs maintain use of the HFA name and logo and the HFA affiliation. (The Healthy Families America name is a trademark of Prevent Child Abuse America, who is the sole grantee of the right to use the name.). An accredited program is a member of a national initiative whose benefits include networking with peers from other quality programs, working with members to shape the direction of the initiative, the ability to take advantage of national and state level advocacy for HFA services, coordination of training and technical assistance, and public awareness efforts. Additionally, accredited programs are considered for joint grant and research opportunities with PCA America.

Site Self-Assessment

After programs are granted provisional status, they should begin to think about how they will complete the Self-Assessment; the first step of a two-part process to become an accredited HFA site or multi-system. Completing the Self-Assessment involves gathering input from all key personnel involved with the program. This process provides the program with an opportunity to critically review its organizational structure and service delivery and compare its results against professionally accepted, research-based national standards. The Self-Assessment forms the basis for a peer review and all subsequent decisions about the program's application for accreditation.

Peer Review Site Visit

Once the Self-Assessment has been completed and submitted, a team of at least two external, trained peer reviewers conduct a site visit. The purpose of this visit is to provide a comprehensive and objective review and validate a program's self-assessment and adherence to the critical elements.

Based on their findings, the peer review team prepares a Site Visit Report which is sent first to PCA America and then to the applicant program. The program has 45 days to respond to the report in writing. This response is then discussed by the HFA Advisory Panel and a decision is made.

Depending on the outcome of the Self-Assessment, the peer reviewer site visit, the program response and the deliberations of the Panel, the evidence will be used to determine whether to grant accreditation or a delay is necessary. Two types of accreditation may be granted: a four-year individual site accreditation or a four-year multi-site accreditation.

Technical Assistance

Quality Assurance staff are available to provide the following technical assistance to programs as they complete the accreditation process:


Provide a complete overview of the process from preparation of the Self-Assessment through the accreditation decision;

Answer any questions about the completion of the self-study, standards interpretation, and/or the process;


Assist with program implementation and/or policies and procedures development;

Provide guidance with site visit preparation;

Connect programs with local experts; and

Handle the logistics of the site visit.

Organizations interested in learning more about the accreditation process may contact the director of the region in which they are based.


To defray costs associated with the provision of technical assistance to HFA sites, affiliated sites are responsible for an annual affiliation fee. Additionally, HFA program sites are responsible for the costs associated with the HFA Peer Review Team to perform an on-site review. Please contact your HFA Regional Director with any questions regarding the fees associated with affiliation and accreditation.