The Healthy Foundations for Future Families program is improving children’s wellbeing through pre-parenting education of teens before they conceive our next generation of children.
Long before a child is conceived, adolescent choices and behaviors can set the stage for an emerging family. The Healthy Foundations program guides teens to consider personal qualities for healthy relationships, and for responsible and caring co-parenting. Teens also explore the effect of unintended pregnancies and teen parenting on everyone involved, especially the children. Common adolescent health risks (e.g., alcohol, drugs, tobacco, poor nutrition, promiscuity) are studied for their potential impact on a future pregnancy, family dynamics, and the lifetime wellbeing of their future children. By delving into topics relevant to teens’ daily lives, teens gain vital understanding of how their current behaviors are shaping the trajectory for their future family.
Conducting the Healthy Foundations program in high school health education classrooms has been an efficient way to reach a broad population in a setting that is conducive to learning and in a timely way. Because the program is a science-based curriculum that correlates with Essential Standards for Secondary School Health Education it has been well-received by teachers and easily integrated into classrooms.
The Healthy Foundations program is focused on improving knowledge, attitudes, and behaviors that will enable teens to make healthy choices and prior to creating a family. Designed as a strength-based program, Healthy Foundations not only seeks to prevent ACEs and factors that contribute to child maltreatment, it also enhances factors that optimize child well-being.
The long-term goal is to improve adult capacities for parenting through:
- Strong family structure
- Social health
- Physical and mental health
- Parenting and child development awareness.
And the desired long-term outcomes are to improve children’s well-being by optimizing preconception and prenatal health, and equipping future parents to meet their children’s post-natal needs as defined by Maslow’s Hierarchy of Needs: physical, safety, belonging and self-esteem needs.