Healthy Families Illinois (HFI)
Bureau of Child and Adolescent Health
Division of Community Health & Prevention
Illinois Department of Human Services

Program Description


Families with newborns who are at risk of child abuse or neglect. Some programs may target more specific populations (e.g., first-time teen parents).


Healthy Families Illinois seeks to prevent child abuse and neglect and to promote healthy development by helping to build strong parent-child relationships.


Participants receive information and referrals to:

  • Improve family functioning, through:
    1. Development of improved problem-solving skills
    2. Identification and improved access to family support systems
    3. Development of self-sufficiency goals for teenage parents including completion of high school, or its equivalent, and the delay of subsequent births.
  • Promote healthy child growth and development
  • Promote positive parent/child relationship

Delivery Method

Services are provided through intensive home visits, commencing bi-weekly during the pregnancy or weekly for at least six months following the child's birth, after which frequency and duration of the visits vary according to the needs of the family. Home visitation may continue at least quarterly through the first five years of the child's life.

Program Data

SFY04 SFY05 SFY 06 SFY 07
Program Expenditure (Numbers in 000's) $8,346.10 $8,551.40 $8,927.80 $9,135.41
Number of Grantees 52 52 52 52
Number Served 3,850 4,644 4,816 4,334

Program Accomplishments

A longitudinal study concluded by Northern Illinois University in 2006 indicates that HFI providers have been successful in engaging parents who are at the greatest risk for child maltreatment. The study also indicates that parents who had the highest risk for child maltreatment at enrollment showed the greatest benefit from program services, over time. Benefits included lower levels of distress, fewer rigid parenting beliefs and greater confidence in their ability to parent. All of these outcomes are congruent with HFI's goals of improving parent-child interactions, preventing child abuse and neglect and promoting child development.