Healthy Families Mid-Shore - Home Visiting (Kent County FY16 and Beyond) - Annual

Story Behind the Curve

FY19 - For the first time in over two decades there is a positive trend line for child poverty in Kent County, yet the rate remains 7 points higher than Maryland’s. In 2001 the Kent County rate was 12% and it nearly doubled by 2012. If the current decrease in child poverty continues, Kent County will be able to reach 2001 rates again by 2030. The root causes of Child Poverty identified by the Kent County Local Management Board are 1. A decline in families with children residing in the County, 2. Families experiencing generational poverty, and 3. The impact of substance abuse and incarceration on family stability.   These were agreed upon during a planning retreat in June 2017. 


Healthy Families Mid-Shore began working with Kent County families in FY14. This was the same year that the Chestertown Hospital closed its maternity ward; requiring families to travel 45 minutes to an hour for child birth and delivery. It became more urgent to target resources to low income families at greater risk of poor outcomes.   While the Board had funded some home visiting services to new parents in FY12 and earlier, Healthy Families provided an accredited, evidence-based program to Kent County. The Board continues to prioritize Healthy Families Mid-Shore due to its vital role in preventing child abuse and neglect and fostering stable families.

  • Kent Family Center
  • Kent County Public Schools
  • Judy Center
  • Local Infant and Child Coordinating Council
  • Kent County Department of Social Services
  • Kent County Health Department
Action Plan
  • For FY19 include a better off performance measure that captures Healthy Families impact on child poverty
  • Explore potential for Healthy Families to adopt the two generation Crisis to Thrive tool 
  • To address racial disparities in child poverty rates, evaluate the program's work and operations as an equitable institution. 
Program Summary

Fiscal Year 2019

Healthy Families contributes to the result area "Families are Safe and Economically Stable" by supporting the development of healthy children and stable, economically self-sufficient parents through a two-generation home visiting program. The evidence based, nationally accredited program is designed to build protective factors for children, strengthen family foundations, foster the growth of problem solving skills, and cultivate parental resilience. The Queen Anne’s County Health Department operates the program, and home visitors are housed in the Kent County Health Department. Over Fiscal Year 2018, 77% of families who were without work when enrolled found employment, 100% of children were kept up to date with their vaccinations, and there were 0 cases of abuse or neglect.

Key Activities:

  1. Home visiting from pregnancy to age 5.  Visits begin on a weekly basis, typically for the first year, to provide child development information, parent-child activities to promote bonding and attachment, and information and referrals to needed community resources. The intensity of visits decrease over time as new parents expand their support system, achieve goals identified on their individual support plans and exhibit positive relationships with their child.   
  2. Home visits use the curriculum "Growing Great Kids" that provides strength-based, solution focused guides for building conversations with parents through skill-driven activities. The curriculum has a primary emphasis on engaging parents, who themselves may have had adverse childhood experiences. If a parents own bonding and secure attachments were compromised, it is all the more important to reinforce those bonds with their child. The trained home visitors works with parents to foster the growth of secure attachments, develop parental empathy, provide a better understanding and support of early childhood development, promote parent resiliency, grow skills to better manage stress, and strengthen family foundations. 
  3. Family support workers also assess for neglect and abuse and any safety concerns. The program tracks birth weight, immunizations, referrals to community resources, and the number of families referred to Child Protective Services while enrolled in the program 
  4. The program regularly screens children for developmental delays by using the "Ages and Stages Questionnaire". 
  5. Uses a two generation approach and coordinates actively with community agencies and organizations. 




Target Population

FY19 - Parents and Infants birth to five years of age. Parents enrolled in Fiscal Year 2019 are either disconnected parenting youth or families impacted by incarceration. 

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Current Target Value
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