Spotlight: Shana DeFelice, Director of Family Services, Blackstone Valley Community Action Program

  • 20 Jan 2022

Shana DeFeliceShana DeFelice, Director of Family Services, highlights Heathy Tomorrows in action at Blackstone Valley Community Action Program. 

Why did your practice first engage in the family home visiting program?

We first engaged in the Family Home Visiting programs because we were aware of the great work that other agencies were doing with young families and wanted the families in our community to have access to the benefits of family home visiting.

What unique challenges did this program help your practice and its families overcome, and what success was found?

The Family Home Visiting programs have helped our agency reach families that we had struggled to reach in the past, and that has expanded our ability to serve the community. We have found success through this collaborative and other projects which focused on well-child care and resulted increased vaccination rates, even during the pandemic.

What lessons learned from this work can you share with other practices that can help better support Rhode Islanders?

We have learned the importance of being flexible and focusing on relationships. We strive to meet families where they are at; this proved to be especially helpful during the challenges the pandemic presented. Meeting families and listening to their stories has taught us the significance of using a trauma-informed lens, an approach that is at the heart of Family Home Visiting. This collaborative has also highlighted that in order to provide the best support to families, it is critical to establish a point person and discuss preferred methods of communication.