Healthy Families changed our lives. When we enrolled, Adam was incarcerated and fighting drug addiction. I was pregnant and bouncing between family members to sleep. We were without jobs, without a home, and without much hope for our future.
Then I met Joan, our Healthy Families Support Worker. With Joan’s guidance, I learned positive ways to deal with stress and how to be the best mom I could be, even when times were tough.
When Adam was released from prison, he was connected to a residential rehab program. We knew that most addicts have a low rate of success and that we would face a lot of challenges when he came home for good. Joan helped us set goals for when he got out. It has been hard work, but I’m happy to say he has been sober for 3 years now.
We wanted a place of our own, so Joan taught us how to save money. Within five months we had saved enough to move into our own place with our children. Our family was doing much better but we knew we had a long way to go. Joan helped us get job training and today we both have good jobs.
Healthy Families also helped us become better parents to our children. Having little ones is tough, even when things are going well. Joan showed us how to discipline our children in positive ways, how to play with them and how to help them learn.
She helped us improve our own relationship, too. We learned how to communicate with each other, how to set goals and achieve them together.
We wanted to have a better life, and Healthy Families helped make that possible. They believed in us when no one else did. Now our family is stable and our children are thriving. We are so grateful for Healthy Families.
When Deidre enrolled in Healthy Families Florida, she was 22 years old and pregnant with her second child. She was using drugs, stealing, and had lost custody of her first child, which led her into a deep depression. Deidre's home visitor referred her to mental health counseling for her depression, helped her develop parenting and life skills and encouraged her to set goals for herself, such as finding a job and going back to school. Through her relationship with her home visitor, Deidre gained confidence in herself and her parenting abilities and learned to accept personal responsibility for her future and the future of her family. Deidre says one of the most important things she learned as a participant in Healthy Families Florida was that she did not have to be a victim; she could be an asset for herself, for her son and for her community.
When Deidre graduated from the Healthy Families Florida program last October her son Jontavious was four years old and enrolled in preschool. Deidre was working full-time, had earned her driver's license, bought a car, and moved into her own apartment. Deidre says, "I have regrets, and I sincerely miss my oldest son, who was adopted several years ago. I so often wish I could do it all over again and be the mother to him that I am to Jontavious now. I truly needed a program like Healthy Families back then. Maybe, just maybe, I could have made a change to keep my oldest son."
With the help of Healthy Families, today I am proud to say that my children and I no longer live in fear of domestic violence because I was showed by my support worker where to go for help, and I got it. The father of my children is in jail where he belongs and I aided the police in getting him there. My children and I are safe, I am working full-time, I have gotten my own transportation and my own home and now I want to get my GED and I know I can do it! Healthy Families has helped me to see that once I had my kids, my life became about them and their well-being and no longer just about myself. I have learned how to be a better parent and how to help my kids be the best people that they can be too."
"My name is Kelly and I am a recovering addict. I am going to tell you a little about myself and then what Healthy Families has done for me. At the age of 12 years old I started using and abusing drugs. At the age of 20 I started sticking a needle in my arm with heroin and crack cocaine. For six long years I couldn't stop. I was in the grips of a disease that I had no clue about. At the age of 26 I had overdosed 8 times in a month and was arrested 7 times in a week and sentenced to 6 months of in-house rehab. After a month of being in rehab I got pregnant. Do you think after all this I knew how to take care of myself; let alone my first baby? Of course not! The only thing I knew how to do was use drugs. I finished my 6 months of rehab and a year of drug court. I graduated from the drug court program a week before my due date.
I learned about Healthy Families and voluntarily accepted the program because I knew I needed all the help I could get. Healthy Families taught me how to care for myself and to learn how to care for my baby. They helped me set goals and accomplish them. They taught me how to discipline my child with love. The helped me to manage my family's needs. They taught me how to handle stress. They helped me to have a family plan. They also helped me connect with resources in the community that I knew nothing about. I learned to do things for my baby that I couldn't even do for myself. All this learning straight out of a rehab was what I needed. If I didn't have the guidance and support from Healthy Families, I don't know where I would be today.
I was with Healthy Families for 4 1/2 years. My daughter graduated from Healthy Families 2 years ago. My daughter is an honor roll student today and her behavior is great. Most importantly I am still clean and almost finished with my Bachelor's Degree in Organizational Management. Healthy Families not only saved my life but it saved my family as well. If it wasn't for my Family Support Worker I don't know where I would be today. She was my backbone until I was able to have one of my own. Healthy Families has been a remarkable opportunity and turning point in my life. My dream was to have a career that allowed me to help others and because of Healthy Families I'm now living that dream. This is my success story. I went from being a mother who didn't know how to be a mom to being a Family Assessment Worker for Healthy Families at Helping People Succeed."
"My name is Cheryl and I am a parent of Healthy Families. I have been a client for about 5 years now since my second son was born. Lenor is my home visitor and throughout the whole time I have been in the program she has been an awesome inspiration. Every time I needed help she has gone out of her way to do everything possible to get the help or advice I needed, and does it with a welcoming smile, and very friendly. My kids love her and are always so excited to see her. When I started the program I was without work and basically homeless. But, as years have gone by every goal I have made with Lenor I have basically completed or made it better. Thanks to all the referrals and advice given from the home visitor and the program. I started out with nothing and was very depressed. But as time went by, things began to look up. All the advice I have received has changed my life and I am finally back on feet and working supporting and providing for my family after many years of not being able to find work due to circumstances from mistakes I made in the past. But now I am more confident in myself and I believe I can be a better person and I believe I can do better for my children. This program has given me more confidence to succeed and to be a better mother. The overall success from this program has brought to me the ability to bond and to learn from my children. Many thanks to this program and to my home visitor Lenor for all you have done for me and my family. I would most definitely recommend this program to other parents as well. Thank you from the bottom of my heart."
"As a child, I experienced a lot of domestic violence. My dad was an alcoholic. He abused my mother mentally and physically. After my mom left my dad, she became a druggie and we bounced from house to house. I was taught that women were to be in a kitchen and only speak when spoken to. I decided to enroll in the Healthy Families program because I had suffered from post partum depression with my first child and felt that I need the support.
Healthy Families has taught me that every child is different and you have to learn how to work with each child differently. After a while, patience really does work. Healthy Families has helped me to achieve one of my goals of being more hands-on with my baby and to spend more time with my children than my work. Thanks to Healthy Families, I have a better job and obtained my Food Manager Certification. I also have goals to get additional certifications and I just moved out of Family Renew Community, which is a transitional housing program.
If Healthy Families didn't exist, I would probably still be beating my children. I wouldn't be spending time with them and would be pawning them off to their father. Healthy Families has been very helpful. I get a lot of information to help me with my children, not just the baby. Healthy Families helps me come up with good parenting methods to replace the base one I used before I was enrolled in the program."
"K" was a first time mother to be when she first became involved with Healthy Families. During her initial assessment "K" shared with the assessor that the father of her baby was incarcerated for domestic battery against her while she was 6 months pregnant. Reportedly, her boyfriend would drink and become violent when he was high on drugs. When he would become violent, he would unplug the house phone and hide her cell phone so she could not call 911. During the last incident which led to the boyfriend’s incarceration, he hit "K" in the face and in the stomach. "K" was able to escape with the assistance of a friend. "K" reports that she had been in a previous relationship where her boyfriend attempted to kill her for attempting to leave him.
"K" had experienced an abusive childhood at the hands of her father. "K" experienced depression and panic attacks as a result of the abuse. About six years ago "K" was at a party and was drugged and gang raped brutally. She did not think she could get pregnant due to the severe physical trauma she endured.
When "K" began the Healthy Families program, she was unemployed. "K" was assigned a Family Support Worker, who comes to "K’s" home offering education and support. "K" is now employed as a Teacher’s aide and is taking college courses on line. She is very artistic and talented in fashion design. "K" is nurturing towards her son. He is very smart and loves his mommy. "K" utilizes the parenting skills that her Family Support Worker has taught her and is an excellent mom. She has taken advantage of the counseling services that Healthy Families offers and is no longer depressed or anxious. She states that she "will no longer be a victim again." "K" is truly an example of how Healthy Families helps parents become the best that they can be and stop the cycle of abuse.
A Healthy Families graduate shares her story and thanks the Florida Legislature for continuing to fund this life changing program.
Healthy Families Broward recently celebrated the graduation of more than 60 families from the Healthy Families program. The Healthy Families curriculum helps parents and caregivers learn how to recognize and respond to their babies' changing developmental needs, use positive discipline techniques, cope with the day-to-day stress of parenting in healthy ways, and set and achieve short- and long-term goals. Healthy Families Florida congratulates Healthy Families Broward and all the participating families on this wonderful achievement!