Prevent Child Abuse America (PCA America) announced Aug. 14 that the Healthy Families America (HFA) affiliate, Whole Kids Outreach (WKO), has been accredited as a provider of high quality home visiting services to families who want to improve their child’s health, nutrition and developmental outcomes.
“We are thrilled to announce our HFA accreditation,” said WKO executive director. Sister Anne Francioni. “Whole Kids Outreach holds the highest standards of care for our families, and the Healthy Families America evidence-based model is the key to providing the great care our families deserve and need.”
“We commend Whole Kids Outreach for opening itself up to such an intensive review process,” said Kathleen Strader, National Director of HFA. “We believe thatall families and all communities deserve access to quality home visiting services.”
Whole Kids Outreach’s eight outreach specialists provide in-home outreach services to families with babies newborn to 3 years who live in poverty in rural southern Missouri, covering over 5,000 square miles of Butler, Carter, Wayne, Iron, Reynolds, Shannon and Ripley counties.
More than 99 percent of WKO clients fall below the federal poverty line, and the incidence of infant mortality, child abuse and neglect, and teen pregnancy are two to four times higher in these counties than in the rest of the state.
“For families who participate in WKO’s programs, including Healthy Families America, the rates of child abuse and neglect are virtually zero,” said Sister Anne. “Whole Kids Outreach makes a difference.”
HFA is a signature program of PCA America that has been providing home visiting services for more than 20 years. Expectant and new parents have common questions about their child’s development. HFA connects with families through community partners like Whole Kids Outreach, hospitals and pediatricians to find the answers to their questions, meeting within the familiarity and convenience of the family’s own home. HFA is an accessible, voluntary and well received service.
Home visitors receive extensive training in a wide range of areas that can cause stress and worry to just about every new parent: caring for a new baby, ensuring the baby is receiving the nutrition needed, promoting healthy child development and coping with a myriad of other potential stresses, such as financial, housing, partner relationship, etc., that may become heightened with an addition to the family.
In addition to home visits, WKO provides community support opportunities at its center in Ellington, Mo. These programs include Mom’s Day Out programs, an Easter Egg Hunt in the spring, Camp Whole Kids during the summer, and a Christmas Store for families in December. These center-based activities are designed to build community and provide socializing opportunities among families in our area who may be geographically and economically isolated.
“The American Dream starts with a happy, healthy childhood,” said Dan Duffy, President and CEO of PCA America. “As parents, we all have questions from time to time. Our HFA professionals offer evidence-based best practices to provide answers to questions, individualized support when needed most, and linkages to community services. As we congratulate Whole Kids Outreach, we also recognize the state and community leadership that has contributed to its success in Ellington and in the seven Missouri-Ozark counties that WKO serves.
The accreditation process is based upon a stringent set of 12 critical elements grounded in more than 30 years of research. The process involves an in-depth examination of the site’s operation, as well as, the quality of the visits made by HFA home visitors.
Whole Kids Outreach is located at 62143 Highway 21, Ellington, MO.
About Whole Kids
Whole Kids Outreach is a faith-based, nonprofit service organization committed to the unmet health and developmental needs of children, youth, and pregnant women within their family structure.
The counties served by Whole Kids Outreach (WKO) – Butler, Carter, Iron, Reynolds, Shannon, Ripley and Wayne – are among the poorest and least healthy regions of the state of Missouri. More than 99% of WKO clients fall below the federal poverty line. A majority of WKO’s clients are low-income and teen mothers, making up 20% of the WKO clientele with the youngest being 13 years old. Mothers participating in WKO programs range in age from 13 to 60 years old. WKO also works with impoverished parents and children who are developmentally disabled and need more intensive in-home services.
Annually, WKO provides health assessment and health education in the homes of hundreds residents. WKO Outreach Specialists provide in-home services through the agency’s Healthy Families America Program. Children and pregnant women, who lack access to obstetricians, pediatricians, clinics and hospitals in rural areas, are provided home health care visits through Whole Kids Outreach’s Registered Nursing staff. In addition, hundreds of children and their families participate in programs on-site at the WKO Center in Ellington, Missouri. Their website is www.wholekidsoutreach.org
About PCA America/Health
Families America (HFA)
PCA America was established in 1972 with the belief that child abuse and neglect is preventable. The not-for-profit, volunteer-based organization is committed to preventing child abuse in all forms through education, research, public awareness, and public policy development. Today, PCA America has 50 statewide chapters.
PCA America implemented the Healthy Families America (HFA) initiative in 1992 in partnership with Ronald McDonald House Charities, building on two decades of research in the field of home visiting. HFA serves families of all ethnic and socio-economic backgrounds, meeting the needs of close to 600 communities in 40 states, DC, the U.S. Territories and Canada.
Healthy Families America is an effective and proven evidence-based home visiting program according the U.S. Department of Health & Human Services. PCA America is proud to support HFA and to be part of a national coalition of organizations dedicated to improving the home visiting field.