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Minding the Baby®

Meets DHHS criteria for an evidenced based model

Model Overview

Last Updated

May 2016


Theoretical Model

MTB is based on a two-generation model of care that aims to integrate primary care and infant mental health services by pairing a pediatric nurse practitioner with a licensed clinical social worker (LCSW) to conduct home visits. MTB is grounded in attachment theory, reflective parenting, social ecology theory, and self-efficacy theory. The program aims to enhance maternal and child health, reflective parenting, early attachment between mothers and children, and relationships between families and communities.


Model Components

MTB consists of home visits with a nurse practitioner and an LCSW. The home visitors meet with families separately on an alternating schedule, except in the following circumstances in which both home visitors meet with the family together: at the time of recruitment, at the first and last home visits, when mothers transition from weekly to bimonthly visits, and as needed (such as during a crisis).

During visits, home visitors aim to develop mothers’ abilities to become reflective and responsive in their interactions with their infants by doing the following:

  • Giving voice to the baby’s experience (both physical and emotional); 
  • Giving voice to the mother’s experience of herself as a parent; 
  • Highlighting the mother’s positive feelings for the child; 
  • Developing the mother’s capacities to reflect and contemplate, especially in the face of difficult emotions.

When indicated, the LCSW home visitor conducts a mental health assessment and provides treatment in the home.

In addition to home visits, the visitors maintain close contact with the mothers’ prenatal and pediatric clinicians, who may be based in a partnering community health center. Clinicians and staff at the community health centers guide home visitors in working with families who have numerous physical, medical, and mental health needs. Home visitors also facilitate a close relationship between families and their primary care clinicians, and coach families on how to consume health care information and access needed social services.


Target Population

MTB is intended for first-time mothers living in low-income settings. As guided by the mother, home visit activities can include fathers or other family members. The site in Connecticut that piloted the program enrolls first-time mothers in their second or third trimester of pregnancy, who are 14 to 25 years of age and receiving prenatal services from a collaborating community health clinic. This site does not accept women who are active drug users or who are experiencing serious physical or psychological illness, including active psychosis.


Where to Find Out More

Crista Marchesseault, M.A.T., M.A.
Minding the Baby® Project Director
Yale Child Study Center
230 South Frontage Road
PO Box 207900
New Haven, CT 06520-7900
Phone: (203) 737-1509