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Progress & Outcomes

Child Sexual Abuse Prevention

With a dual focus of preventing of child sexual abuse and supporting victims, Families Forward co-coordinates with Hugs and Kisses, a traveling theatrical production which educates elementary school children about how to keep safe from, or disclose, sexual abuse. Performed by the Virginia Repertory Theatre, Hugs and Kisses reaches about 40,000 Virginia students per year. Families Forward coordinates with Virginia Repertory Theatre to provide Hugs & Kisses to about 160 scheduled performances of Hugs and Kisses annually with schools and their local departments of Social Services. This is the 35th anniversary year of Hugs and Kisses and to date more than 18,000 Virginia children have disclosed child sexual abuse after watching the Hugs and Kisses program. 


Statewide Parent Support & Education

Circle of Parents® is a national model with the mission of preventing child abuse and neglect and strengthening families through mutual self-help parent support groups. In FY17, Families Forward-managed Circle of Parents programs served 240 adults and 400 children in Virginia. In addition, professional development is offered for parent educators, Circle of Parents professionals and volunteers, and others through the Families Forward training program.


Circle of Parents in Virginia include: Family Focus in Newport News, Greater Richmond SCAN in Richmond, New River Valley CARES in Christiansburg, Northern Virginia SCAN in Alexandria and Washington County Department of Social Services in Bristol. To learn more about Circle of Parents contact or visit  


Families Forward is part of the 1-800-CHILDREN (1-800-244-5373) program helpline where parents and caregivers are provided personalized, professional parenting support.   


Federal, State, Local Advocacy

Families Forward promotes legislation, policies and programs that ensure local, state and federal decision makers support children and families.  Each year, Families Forward develops a legislative agenda to guide its work. 


Public Awareness & Education

Increasing public awareness of and engagement with strategies to prevent child abuse, neglect and poverty in Virginia is a critical goal for Families Forward. In FY17 Families Forward achieved:


  • Extensive media impressions for Families Forward's key prevention
    and education messages reaching Virginia families through statewide and local social media channels, events, and mail/email

  • More than 15,000 child abuse prevention and positive parenting educational packets distributed to organizations and agencies to share with families throughout the year


Competency-Based, Statewide
Professional Development

Families Forward provides high quality, competency-based professional development with standardized curricula for early childhood home visiting professionals through the Early Impact Virginia’s online and classroom programs. In  addition, professional development is offered for parent educators, Circle of Parents professionals and volunteers, and others through Families Forward training programs.  


Evidence-Based Home Visiting Programs

Families Forward home visiting professionals served more than 10,000 Virginia families in FY17. When at-risk Virginia families who are expecting a baby or have young children receive regular home visits from a parenting professional, the return on investment is evidenced by these outcomes:   


  • Fewer founded cases of child abuse and neglect 

  • Decrease in pre-term births and fewer neonatal intensive care days 

  • Significant improvements in parents’ employment status

  • Higher rates of children in compliance with recommended immunizations 

  • Longer intervals between births to reduce the risk of poor birth outcomes 

  • Increase in number of visits to the doctor for routine exams
    and decreased use of the emergency room


Evidence-based home visiting services are currently unavailable to an additional 90,000 families who could benefit. Families Forward is dedicated to expanding these services.  

Disrupting the Cycles of Child Abuse, Neglect & Poverty

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