Our History

The first Relief Nursery was founded in 1976. This private non-profit child abuse and neglect prevention agency is used by over 30 communities in Oregon and aims to stop the cycle of child abuse and neglect with its research-based principles of therapeutic early childhood services and comprehensive family support, including alcohol and drug recovery support services.

As part of an effort to achieve wellness goals for Oregon’s children and families, a statewide Children’s Care Team was formed in 1991 that reviewed successful child abuse prevention programs. Spurred by the success of Hawaii Healthy Start, the Children’s Care Team recommended that Oregon initiate similar home visitation and family support services for parents with newborns. Others were also interested in child abuse prevention.

In 1992, the National Committee on Child Abuse Prevention (later to become Prevent Child Abuse America) launched Healthy Families America (HFA) in partnership with the Ronald McDonald House Charities. The HFA model of home visitation was based on two decades of research, the experiences of Hawaii’s successful Healthy Start program and best practices from numerous communities and prevention models.

In 1993, the Oregon Legislature established Healthy Start/Family Support pilot projects to assist families in giving their newborn children a “healthy start” in life through ORS 417.795. Under this legislation, the Oregon Commission on Children and Families (OCCF) was charged with establishing pilot projects in selected counties throughout Oregon. A key ingredient was the provision of services to all families with newborns, targeted to those with first-born children at a minimum.

The Yamhill County Healthy Families chapter was originally started in January of 2001 with a grant from the Spirit Mountain Community Fund, and transitioned the following year to oversight from the Oregon State Commission on Children and Families.

In 2012, the Program Development Committee, comprised of community leaders, businesses, medical professionals and Head Start recognized significant community needs and began collaborating on how to prevent child abuse and neglect before it occurs. The committee imagined a place that would allow the opportunity to stabilize families, improve the quality of parent-child interactions, support positive child development, and stop child abuse and neglect in Yamhill County. In July 2012, program administration was transferred through HB 4165 to the Oregon Early Learning Council, Oregon Education Investment Board.

A year later, in July of 2013, LCSNW through its early childhood program, A Family Place, was awarded the contract to operate the program in our first location in McMinnville. As part of the A Family Place program model, Healthy Families works in coordination with the Yamhill Early Learning Hub and its home visiting collaborative, “Family CORE” (Coordinated 0-5 years Referral Exchange). Over the years additional programs were developed such as expanded free parent education classes, additional diaper banks open to the broader community, and our clothing closet. 


A Family Place opened a second location in Newberg  in 2016.

In the fall of 2020, we opened a third physical location on the High School campus grounds in Willamina. This location supports the isolated communities of the West Valley with a classroom, clothing closet, diaper bank, and specialized LCSNW mental health clinicians. 

Working with the Newberg School District to meet the needs of the local community, we broke ground our newest expansion in 2023 near Edwards Elementary School in Newberg. This facility holds two new classrooms, a large diaper bank and clothing closet, and an expanded mental health clinic.