Jessenia’s Journey

Healthy Families graduation ceremony

Twenty-two years ago, Jessenia* had just come to the United States from Honduras. She was pregnant, alone, and living in a rental room. She had no job and did not know how to speak English. 

“It was the darkest hour of my life,” Jessenia recalled.

While attending a prenatal visit at Morristown Medical Center, Jessenia was introduced to the Partnership’s Healthy Families program. Healthy Families is a home-visitation program offered in Passaic, Essex, and Warren counties that pairs trained Family Support Workers with pregnant women and young families with infants less than three months old. During regular home visits, families learn about child development and parenting, identify their unique strengths and skills, and develop resiliency.

“I felt lucky to have a Family Support Worker who gave me hope and supported my goals,” said Jessenia.

Three years ago, Jessenia became pregnant again. She remembered how helpful the Healthy Families program was when she had her first child and was delighted to be able to reach out to the Partnership again. This time, Jessenia qualified for the Parents as Teachers (PAT) program. 

Similar to Healthy Families, Parents as Teachers is a home-visitation program offered in Bergen and Morris counties.  PAT promotes the importance of early learning and assists in building an important partnership between families, schools, and community resources. The program offers regularly scheduled visits with a Parent Educator, annual developmental screenings, monthly group meetings, and access to a network of resources to ensure all children are able to reach their full potential. 

Today, Jessenia and her family are thriving. She is the proud owner of her own house and accounting business. 

“I am so grateful to the Partnership staff for their professionalism, responsiveness, and resources. My Family Support Worker and Parent Educator always made me feel very comfortable. I could tell how much they cared about the well-being of my family. These are the kind of people you want in your corner.” 

We are thrilled for Jessenia and her incredible success! Jessenia is one of the thousands of families who receive support through the Healthy Families and Parents as Teachers programs offered through generous funding by the Department of Children and Families. To learn more about these and additional home visitation programs offered by the Partnership, click here.

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*Name has been changed to protect Jessenia’s privacy.

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