Healthy Families

About the Program

Healthy Families-TIP (HF-TIP) New Jersey is a program designed to help expectant and new parents get their children off to a healthy start. Families participate voluntarily in the program and receive home visiting services and community referrals from trained staff. By providing services to overburdened families, HF-TIP fits into the continuum of services provided to families in many communities. The program identifies families of prenatal or newborn children who may be at risk of maltreatment through a systematic assessment process which reaches out to the families struggling with issues correlated with child abuse and neglect.

Healthy Families-TIP is a program of Prevent Child Abuse-New Jersey, the New Jersey state chapter of Prevent Child Abuse America. Healthy Families New Jersey is part of the Healthy Families America network, whose parent organization is Prevent Child Abuse America.

TANF Initiative for Parents (TIP)

The TIP program was created in 2005 as a state initiative to connect prenatal and newly parenting TANF families to home visiting services. It was modeled after the Healthy Families program, which was already operating in the state, but added an additional area of focus toward employment readiness. In 2008, the TIP program merged with the Healthy Families New Jersey program to form HF-TIP. The merger provided the TIP Programs the benefit of being affiliated with an evidence and researched based home visitation model.

TANF families with newborn children may enroll in the HF-TIP program up until the child turns 12 months old, and home visiting services are offered for a minimum of three years. As an additional incentive, many counties offer hours of work credit toward Work First New Jersey’s mandated work activity requirements. This incentive provides TANF clients enrolled in the program the opportunity to spend more time at home caring for their new baby.

Operations Committee

The HF-TIP Operations Committee is an advisory board for the state network of programs and is comprised of program supervisors, managers, and PCA-NJ staff who:

  • Review and develop HF-TIP New Jersey operating policies and/or procedures.
  • Address suggestions, comments, and concerns on existing policies and program materials on an ongoing basis.
  • Advise on issues of advocacy and program sustainment.
  • Provide direction to HF-TIP NJ network.
  • Advise on issues related to research and data collection.
  • Pilot new initiatives.
  • Create and advise on goals, objectives, outcomes and State and National Standards.

The current Operations Committee members are:

  • Marti Apgar, Program Supervisor, Warren-Hunterdon HF-TIP
  • Karen Hoppock, Program Manager, Mercer HF-TIP
  • Michelle Johnson, Program Supervisor, Gloucester HF-TIP
  • Marie Kinsella, Program Manager, Passaic HF-TIP
  • Jennifer Krichman, Program Manager, Atlantic HF-TIP
  • Rubi Lukasiewicz, Program Supervisor, Cumberland HF-TIP
  • Arlene Slizewski, Program Supervisor, Union HF-TIP
  • Doris Vidal, Program Manager, Camden HF-TIP
  • Jessica Nugent, Program Manager – Home Visitation, PCA-NJ
  • Nancy Oliveira, Program Coordinator, PCA-NJ
  • Eva Szmutko, Program Coordinator, PCA-NJ

Logic Model

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The Healthy Families New Jersey Logic Model serves as a template to guide the services that each HF-TIP program provides in correlation with the goals set forth by Healthy Families America and the New Jersey Department of Children and Families.

These goals help to ensure that all families enrolled in the program receive parent support, socialization to decrease isolation, education and information on positive parenting and parent-child bonding, information on maternal-child health and well-being, and linkages to community resources on an as needed basis.

Research

Healthy Families is a research-based program that has been evaluated for its effectiveness in reducing child maltreatment, ensuring healthy child development, encouraging school readiness, promoting family self-sufficiency, and demonstrating positive parenting.

For more information on Healthy Families research, please visit Healthy Families America’s “Research” page.

Frequently Asked Questions

Q: Are you/are you affiliated with DCP&P?

A: Healthy Families-TIP is not a DCP&P program. We are an independent, home visiting program which focuses on parental support for new and expectant parents.

Q: Am I eligible to receive Healthy Families-TIP home visiting services?

A: While specific eligibility varies amongst program sites, most Healthy Families-TIP programs primarily serve new and expectant parents. New parents are defined as families with a child three months old or younger. Families receiving TANF cash benefits are eligible to enroll in Healthy Families-TIP services up until their child turns a year old.

To learn more about the eligibility requirements of a Healthy Families-TIP program near you, please contact your local site.

Q: Does it cost anything to receive services?

A: The Healthy Families-TIP program is FREE and voluntary for all who choose to enroll in its services. 

Q: How can I request home visiting services?

A: To request home visiting services, you can start by contacting a program near you. Ask to speak with the Program Supervisor, who will be more than happy to assist you in the process. 

Q: What does it mean for the program to be “voluntary”?

A: As a consumer, you have the right to terminate your relationship with a Healthy Families-TIP provider anytime you wish for any reason. All Healthy Families-TIP programs seek to improve the services they are able to provide, and would appreciate honest feedback from you, the consumer, should you wish to terminate services early. Sometimes, home visitors may provide you with a survey at the end of your services to allow you the opportunity to describe your experiences with program services. If you are not given this option, but would still like to give feedback, contact the Program Supervisor of the Healthy Families program you are enrolled with, and they will be more than happy to hear from you. 

Q: My DCP&P/Social Service worker is telling me that I am mandated to participate in this program. How does this requirement correlate with the voluntary nature of program services?

A: Healthy Families-TIP programs operate independently of DCP&P and social services. Healthy Families-TIP will always offer consumers the right to terminate services at any time. However, we cannot prevent DCP&P or social services from mandating your participation in our programs for their own program requirements.

If you are being mandated to participate in home visiting by either your DCP&P or social service worker and would like to stop receiving home visiting services, we recommend that you contact your individual caseworker to discuss this possibility. 

Q: What are the qualifications of the home visitors?

A: Family Support Workers (i.e. home visitors), receive intensive training throughout the first year of their employment on issues related to working with and supporting families with children. In their first year, a home visitor will typically receive more than 100 hours of instruction on a variety of topics such as parent-child interaction, child development , engaging fathers, child health and safety, working with teen parents, cultural differences, etc.

45% percent of home visitors in the network have a college degree, while 22% have received some college instruction. Many home visitors also hold certification in fields such as home health care, CPR, and First Aid.

Q: How often will I receive visits?

A: Service intensity varies according to the amount of time each family spends in the program. After enrollment, most families receive weekly home visits. Over time, and after learning more parenting skills and increasing parental knowledge, the home visitor will begin to meet with the family every other week, and then eventually once a month, and then once every three months until the family graduates from program services. 

Q: How long will I receive visits?

A: Home visiting services are offered until a child turns 3 years old. 

Q: What happens on a home visit?

A: Home visits can be as unique as the families we serve. Typically, the home visitor will bring with them activities and materials regarding child development, child health, parent-child interaction, safety, alternative methods of discipline, etc. Most of these activities are interactive and provide an opportunity for the parent and child to spend some time bonding with each other.

The home visitor will also work with the parent on identifying and completing goals related to their work and personal life. This may include such things as: introducing healthy eating habits to children, creating a bedtime routine/schedule, building a resume, searching for a new job, etc. The goals that are created are always specific to each family’s wants, needs, and concerns. They are individualized to suit the specific need of each specific family. 

Q: Can the Healthy Families program or its home visitors share my information with anyone else?

A: Not without your written consent. Healthy Families services are strictly confidential. However, you should be aware that all New Jersey residents, including Healthy Families home visitors, are “Mandated Reporters.” As such, we are all required to report any reasonable suspicion of child abuse or neglect. 

Q: Other than home visits, can Healthy Families help my family to obtain any other benefits?

A: While Healthy Families does not provide direct financial assistance to families, our staff has a wealth of knowledge of the services available in your community and, in most cases, collaborative relationships with those service providers. It is part of our mission to support and empower the families we serve in obtaining additional community support services. In addition, many of our sites receive donations from various sources and are often able to help families by providing a limited amount of material items such as diapers, gift cards, clothing, and household items. 

HF Program Goals
  • To systematically reach out to parents to offer resources and support
  • To cultivate the growth of nurturing, responsive, parent-child relationships
  • To promote healthy childhood growth and development
  • To build the foundations for strong family functioning

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