Family Connects Texas is a free evidence-based, nurse home visiting program for all families with newborns.
The Family Connects model was developed in Durham, North Carolina and was born out of community need. In 2001, the Duke Endowment approached the director of the Duke Center for Child and Family Policy and challenged them to improve child outcomes and specifically to reduce childhood maltreatment and neglect in Durham. From that charge, the Durham Connects model was developed and it was piloted in 2008 with the goal of creating a replicable and sustainable model to be used in other communities.
The Durham Connects program was studied in two rigorous randomized controlled trials, the results of which have been published in highly-regarded journals including Pediatrics and the American Journal of Public Health. The evidence was clear, a universal nurse-home visiting program has significant impact on several outcomes.
Research shows that 95 percent of all families have needs after the birth of a child. These needs are unique to each family and include. Texas Family Connects bridges the gap between parents and community resources and has been shown to improve family well-being, including reducing emergency medical care for infants and improving parent behavior and child care selection.
The program provides between one and three nurse home visits to every family with a newborn beginning at about three weeks of age, regardless of income or demographic risk. Using a tested screening tool, the nurse measures newborn and maternal health and assesses strengths and needs to link the family to community resources.
The Goals of Family Connects
· Connect with every family in their home after the birth of a newborn.
· Offer supportive guidance to families, responding specifically to questions about newborn care.
· Link families to community services based on their individual needs and preferences.
· Help new parents connect with their infant, supporting child development and improving overall family well-being.
In order to achieve these goals, the Family Connects model goes beyond just provision of nurse home-visits, it ensures that Community Alignment and Data and Monitoring are incorporated in the process.
THE COMMUNITY ALIGNMENT PROCESS
Texas Family Connects is only as good as what comes afterward - connecting families to existing community services, programs, and support. Each community that implements this program is required to engage a group of social service agencies, health care providers, and other recipients of these referrals into a Community Advisory Board. This group will meet regularly to share information about identified family needs, any changes to the resources available to families, and problem solve to meet the needs of families and fill the gaps in services that might be identified.
Texas Family Connects is about bringing the community together to change our culture and to show tangibly that all families are valued and supported from day one.
THE IMPORTANCE OF DATA AND MONITORING
A randomized control trial in Durham, North Carolina found: