Since its inception in 1992, the number of HFA program sites has grown from 25 to 624

Since its inception in 1992, the number of HFA program sites has grown from 25 to 624

Prevent Child Abuse America and Healthy Families America are committed to making a difference in the lives of children and families wherever possible, and since 1992 HFA has been doing exactly that. HFA is a voluntary home visiting program that was founded on the ideals of excellence, trust, and transformation and was launched in 1992 by Prevent Child Abuse America (formerly known as the National Committee to Prevent Child Abuse) with funding from Ronald McDonald House Charities. The program was designed to promote positive parenting, enhance child health and development and prevent child abuse and neglect.

Since its inception in 1992, the number of HFA program sites has grown from 25 to 624 and today nearly 100,000 families are served annually in 35 states, the District of Columbia, Canada and 6 U.S. Territories. HFA is unique from other home visiting models in that it is flexible enough to be used in all kinds of communities, whether urban, rural, rich or poor.

In 2011, HFA was recognized by the U.S. Department of Health and Human Services as one of seven proven home visiting models, a distinction that came after a thorough review of research into more than 250 models. Furthermore, HFA is the only national home visitation model that requires its programs to successfully complete a comprehensive accreditation process that is linked to best practice standards.


1990 – U.S. Department of Health and Human Services declares child abuse and neglect to be a national emergency.

1992 – The U.S. Department of Health and Human Services recommended that, in response to this crisis, the nation begin to develop a nationwide, voluntary home-visiting program.

1991 – Staff from the National Committee for Prevention of Child Abuse (NCPCA) travel to Hawaii to learn about and observe the Hawaii Family Stress Center (HFSC), a center that was funded by the National Center on Child Abuse and Neglect and established one of the nation’s first home-visiting programs in 1985.

January 1992 – With receipt of a $1,000,000 grant from Ronald McDonald House charities, the NCPCA launched the Healthy Families America home-visiting program.

February 1992 – In partnership with the HFSC, the NCPCA organized a week-long conference in Hawaii for the original HFA teams, who hailed from 24 states. The conference was an intensive-training that was designed to help these teams replicate the Healthy Start model in their own state.

1992 – Throughout the rest of the year, the Healthy Families America initiative was also featured at three additional conferences, including the Ninth International Congress on Child Abuse and Neglect. Throughout the year, 22 states received site visits from staff at HFSC to help ensure the proper implementation of the program and training of staff.

May 1993 – One of the first major differences between HFA and the HFSC model emerged in 1993 when the original developers of the HFA model realized that the program would be more effective if it was flexible enough to fit in any community, whether urban or rural, rich or poor. While allowing communities to tailor the HFA program to fit their unique demographic needs, in 1993 HFA released their first set of “Critical Elements,” a total of 35 requirements that must be met for any site to use the Healthy Families branding.

1994 – The first Healthy Families America national conference took place with over 300 people in attendance. Later in 1994, the Ronald McDonald house charities renews its support of HFA be awarding the program with another grant, this time for $2 million. Also in this year, HFA implemented it’s national research network with 50 researchers in 25 states engaged in evaluation of HFA sites.

1995 – Thanks to funding from the Carnegie Corporation, NCPCA convenes the first meeting of the HFA Research Network with more than 50 HFA researchers in attendance.

1996 – At the beginning of 1996, there were 154 HFA sites in 28 states. By October, that number would grow to 261 sites in 36 states and the District of Columbia.

1998 – The HFA Program Information Management System (PIMS) was launched and the first training on this new computerized system was held in May. The arrival of PIMS revolutionized the way that individual sites were able to keep track of their cases, and allowed HFA to conduct its first national site profile survey, obtaining key information to inform growth and quality of HFA.

1999 – The first review article on HFA evaluation outcomes was published. The report, written by Deb Daro and Kathryn Harding, was published in the journal Future of Children.

March 25, 1999 – The NCPCA formally changes its name to Prevent Child Abuse America, which is still used today.

2000 - HFA transforms Research Network into Research-Practice Network, engaging 12 states with most rigorous evaluations

2003 - HFA completes first national implementation study.

2005 – A study from Healthy Families New York was published and the early findings of the program show impacts on reducing child maltreatment. This study is still the largest randomized control trial done to date on HFA.

2007 - The second comprehensive review article on HFA outcomes was published in the Journal of Prevention & Intervention in the Community, written by researchers Harding, Galano, Martin, Huntington, & Schellenbach.

2008 - HFA Research Spotlight briefs are released. These reports, summarizing impacts on parenting, child maltreatment, and child development, gave an updated look on the outcomes that HFA was having on parents and communities throughout the country.

2009 – As a result of the Affordable Care Act, money was set aside for a new program called the Maternal, Infant, and Early Childhood Home Visiting program. HFA submits evidence to be considered as one of the models eligible for this funding.

February 2011 – The U.S. Department of Health and Human Services names Healthy Families America as one of seven proven home visiting models, a distinction that came after a thorough review of research into more than 250 models. This allows HFA sites to receive MIECHV funding, helping to grow the program throughout the country and provide services to families in areas where they had previously been unavailable.

2011 – The final report of the Healthy Families New York RCT was published, furthering the evidence for HFA as a program that can make an impact on child maltreatment.

2014 – The Healthy Families America Site Tracker, or HFAST, was launched. This new system replaces the national site profile survey and allows individual sites to be more efficient in their reporting, cutting down on the amount of time they have to spend filling out paperwork.

November 2015 – The new look of Healthy Families America was released to the world, sharing with everyone the idea that our program is founded on the ideals of transformation, trust, and excellence.