New Project: Connecting Families with Community Services in Central Texas

Family Connects

The Child and Family Research Partnership (CFRP) has been awarded a grant by the Episcopal Health Foundation to support the state-funded implementation of Family Connects, an evidence-based universal home visiting program, in Austin. As part of the federal Maternal, Infant, and Early Childhood Home Visiting Program (MIECHV), Family Connects is now being implemented across the country including several new communities in Texas. United Way of Greater Austin and Austin Public Health are implementing the program in Austin.

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.

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 Family Connects. 

More about CFRP's work in Early Childhood Investments - Home Visiting