On December 1, 2012, Project Bisita I Familia home visitors embarked on a journey to provide a new kind of home visiting services to families on Guam. Grounded in its mission to improve the well-being of Guam’s children, birth to 8 years of age, and their families, through evidence-based home visiting services, Project Bisita I Familia has made a difference in the lives of many families.
Project Bisita is a free and voluntary program that was developed to encourage positive parent-child interactions, give parents the knowledge to support their child’s health, growth, and development; strengthen parents’ confidence, prevent child abuse and neglect, promote effective communication between parents and children, and improve coordination of services with other programs. Project Bisita uses the Healthy Families America® (HFA) home visiting model. In 1992, Prevent Child Abuse America® launched the HFA home visiting model to address high rates of child abuse occurrences to children under five. The program was designed to promote positive parenting, enhance child health and development, and prevent child abuse and neglect.
Project Bisita began its pilot home visiting program with three (3) full-time home visitors serving eight (8) enrolled families. As of September 2017, Project Bisita had 58 families enrolled in the program. These families started out receiving home visiting services once a week. Since the program is strength-based and family-driven, the families would set manageable goals with short time frames. Activities that emphasized healthy development and positive discipline were also given to parents to use in the home. As families achieved their goals, the home visits decreased in number. When goals had been met and evidence of positive outcomes were seen, families received home visiting services twice a month. As families became more self-sufficient, services decreased to once per month and then once per quarter.
On September 16, 2017, ten families with a total of 11 children graduated from the program. These families met their goals with positive outcomes and have transitioned out of the home visiting program. The children are now enrolled in the following Department of Education programs—Preschool Gifted and Talented Education (GATE) Program, Head Start Program, or Kindergarten. Being a part of Project Bisita has given these families a hand up and a head start to future success in school and in life.