Family Connects supports newborns and their families by functioning as a screening and triage tool to identify families in need of support and connect them with resources in the community. The goal of the program is to visit with every family in their home after the birth of a new baby. During the visit, a nurse assesses the family's strengths and needs, provides support and guidance, and also connects the family with community services based on the family’s specific needs and preferences. Studies from the implementation of the program in North Carolina, Durham Connects (DC), has shown that DC infants had 59 percent fewer infant emergency medical care episodes in the first six months of life than the control infants. The DC mothers reported fewer infant emergency care episodes as well as more community connections, more positive parenting behaviors, participation in higher quality child care, and lower rates of anxiety than control mothers.
As part of the federal Maternal, Infant, and Early Childhood Home Visiting Program (MIECHV), Family Connects is now being implemented in Iowa, Maryland, North Carolina, Oregon, and Minnesota, and Texas. Early efforts of the Texas Early Childhood Community and Scholars Network (TECCSN) helped United Way of Greater Austin and Austin Public Health bring Family Connects to Travis County. The Child and Family Research Partnership (CFRP) has been awarded a grant by the Episcopal Health Foundation to support the implementation of Family Connects in Travis County and is assisting with laying the framework and data system that supports program implementation and evaluation.
CFRP has an extensive body of work on home visiting programs as an early childhood investment. For this project, CFRP will assess the current assets, opportunities, and resources for new mothers and their infants in the Austin community, as well as identify gaps and areas of overlap in services. CFRP will also develop a data system framework that supports program implementation and allows stakeholders to determine the impacts of the program.
The pilot program, Texas Family Connects, was launched in Travis County starting with St. David's South Austin Hospital and serving families as of September 2018.
More about CFRP's work in Early Childhood Investments - Home Visiting.
Original post 01/09/18. Updated September 2018.