Model effectiveness research report last updated: 2014
The Family Connects* model aims to bring families, community agencies, and health care providers together through nurse home visits to provide all families with the support and resources they need to promote the well-being of their newborns. The model uses a triage model of care, providing one to three home visits to every family living within a defined service area, typically when the infant is 2 to 12 weeks old. Families with identified needs can receive further support, including additional home visits, telephone contacts, and connections to community resources for longer-term services.
*The model began as a pilot called Durham Connects, which served Durham County, North Carolina. As part of subsequent replication, the model was renamed Family Connects to reflect the model’s larger service area. The model has not changed between the pilot and replication.
Family Connects is a manualized intervention that provides one to three home visits from a registered nurse to all families who have newborns and live in a defined service area. During the initial home visit, the nurse conducts a physical health assessment of the mother and newborn, provides supportive guidance on topics that are common to all families (such as infant feeding and safe sleeping practices), and conducts a systematic assessment of family risks and needs. The risk and needs assessment covers 12 factors in 4 domains associated with the health and well-being of mothers and infants. (Domains and factors are described under Assessment Tools.)
If an assessment reveals a risk or need, nurses directly support families or connect them to community resources, typically through additional home visits and/or telephone contacts. In cases of mild risk, nurses may provide direct support, such as feeding assistance. If a family’s risk is more significant, the nurse collaborates with the family to connect them to desired community services and supports. Supports may include intensive, targeted home visiting programs, mental health services, public assistance programs, or primary health care providers. Nurses use a searchable database of local agencies, created by local program staff, in making referrals.
One month after case closure, a staff member (the nurse home visitor or another staff member) calls families to determine whether they connected with the referred agency(ies), are receiving services, have any additional needs, and were satisfied with the program.