MSPCC to oversee Healthy Families program on much of South Coast

Jan 12, 2023

The Children’s Trust, the state’s child abuse prevention agency, has given the Massachusetts Society for the Prevention of Cruelty to Children (MSPCC) a contract to oversee the Healthy Families Massachusetts program for Acushnet, Fairhaven, Freetown, Dartmouth, Wareham, New Bedford, Marion, Mattapoisett, and Rochester from now until 2028.

The Children’s Trust’s Healthy Families Massachusetts program is a home-based family support and coaching program that helps young first-time parents create stable, nurturing environments for their children, reducing incidents of abuse and neglect. The program matches parents with trained professionals who visit families’ homes to provide support during pregnancy and the child’s first three years of life. Home visitors teach parents about proper baby care, promote nurturing and attachment, practice effective parenting skills and ensure parents have a solid understanding of healthy child development. They also counsel parents on achieving personal goals such as going back to school or securing a job.

A study from Tufts University found that participating in Healthy Families Massachusetts led to a 36% decrease in parenting stress, a risk factor for child abuse and neglect. The study also found that involvement in the program decreased parents’ likelihood to abuse drugs and alcohol, reduced homelessness and dependence on cash assistance, and increased parents’ employment and educational attainment.

MSPCC’s staff has a robust language capacity and can speak Spanish, Cape Verdean Creole, Portuguese, Haitian Creole, and French to meet the needs of a diverse community. As part of the new contract, MSPCC is hiring additional family support staff to meet the growing demand for the program. First-time parents ages 23 years old and under who are interested in the program can learn more at Parents can enroll in the program beginning in pregnancy.