Healthy Families in Israel!

Healthy Families America is pleased and proud to announce the launch of Healthy Families Israel! We have been working in close contact for nearly a year with leaders from Youth Futures, Inc. a subsidiary of the Jewish Agency for Israel (JAFI) and their partners from Digma Applied Evaluation and the University of Haifa. Before selecting HFA, our new Israeli partners conducted a review of more than twelve different evidence-based home visiting models, ultimately selecting HFA due to its strong evidence base and flexible programming.

Kathleen Strader and Kate Whitaker traveled to Israel in May (see photo below) and then in June welcomed members of the Youth Futures team to the HFA headquarters in Chicago. While in Chicago, we had the chance to learn more from the HF Israel team, including Liat Riff (pictured below, third from right).

Kate and Kathleen traveled to Israel to see some of the new Healthy Families Israel program sites first hand and to meet with staff from JAFI, Youth Futures, and the University of Haifa.

Kate and Kathleen traveled to Israel to see some of the new Healthy Families Israel program sites first hand and to meet with staff from JAFI, Youth Futures, and the University of Haifa.

“When I have to explain why we chose [Healthy Families America] I said ‘you know, they are so professional, and they have all these tools, and a great evidence base, but you know – they are also good people” said Raff. “They were willing to work with us, to understand us, and make sure it was a good match.”

We are thrilled about this opportunity to extend the reach of Healthy Families services to Israel! The team has gotten off to a fast start and families have already begun to be recruited and served in six pilot communities throughout the country. Currently the program is serving both Jewish and Arab sectors and there are plans to expand to all thirty-six Israeli localities countrywide.

JAFI has provided critically needed support and service to individuals and families for 90 years and Youth Futures, Inc has provided mentoring to families with school-age children since 2005. The agency’s dedication to quality service, it’s focus on relational health as the foundation for optimal outcomes, and passion for achieving family and child well-being for all, make this collaboration a perfect fit. We are grateful to our newest friends and colleagues in Israel for what we predict to be a long and mutually rewarding relationship aimed at improving the lives of families with young children.

An HFA Story: Meet Donna Boos

Donna Boos shows off her HFA apron.

Donna Boos shows off her HFA apron.

More than twenty years later, Donna Boos still remembers her home visitor’s name and the impact that one Family Support Worker has made upon not only Donna, but her entire family. “The information, education and support I received from my home visitor, Toby, will forever be with me.”

Donna got her start with Healthy Families Iowa when she found out she was pregnant with her first child and shortly after she and her boyfriend Chris had relocated to a new area. “Not having any concrete or social supports and family close by, plus being a considerable distance away and at times having conflictual relationships with them, it was hard for this nervous first-time mom!” recalled Donna. Fortunately, a new neighbor was involved with Healthy Families Iowa and recommended the program to Donna. “I accepted with the anticipation of not only learning about how to raise my child but to have someone to support and connect with during my long and sometimes lonely hours of being a stay-at-home Mom,” she said.

At the time, Donna was looking for a way to learn more about her child and to have someone to turn to for support and guidance. She didn’t know at the time that it would one day be her who would be providing that support.

Today, Donna is a Program Manager with Healthy Families-Buchanan County, Iowa, helping to lead and manage the program that had been so helpful to her two decades ago. Donna credits her experience as a participant in HFA for why she is so dedicated and passionate about the program today. One aspect of her job that Donna loves is being able to give advice and support to other professionals (and parents!) who work for or participate in HFA. “It takes a village to raise our children,” said Donna, “Thank goodness I understood this and accepted the help when I did.”

Thank goodness indeed, because if Donna hadn’t accepted the help twenty years ago, we wouldn’t be so lucky to have her as an ambassador for our program today.

Do you know someone who would like to share their HFA experience? Let us know!