Last updated: May 2013
The MOM Program was developed to address gaps in the use of health services and early intervention services for developmental issues for children under age 5. It was designed to provide professional support to help low-income mothers identify the need for early intervention and access appropriate services for their children.
Until children reach age 3, the MOM Program provides home visits to mothers before planned well-child health care visits to prepare mothers for their appointment. Home visitors, consisting of both nurses and paraprofessional community workers, are not assigned to specific mothers, but instead alternate visiting participants.
Well-child visits are planned according to American Academy of Pediatrics guidelines. During the visits, home visitors:
- Ask mothers whether they have concerns about their child’s development;
- Show mothers checklists of age-specific developmental milestones and ask how their child compares;
- Encourage mothers to ask about their child’s development at the upcoming well-child visit;
- Discuss expectations for the upcoming well-child visit in terms of procedures and immunizations;
- Inform mothers of appropriate early education services;
- Conduct developmental screenings when children are ages 18 and 36 months.
Home visitors also call mothers to remind them of their scheduled well-child appointments. They call again after the scheduled visit to check that the mothers went to their appointment and received all recommended services. If one home visitor encounters persistent nonresponse from a mother, another home visitor takes over. In addition to varying the home visitor attempting communication, home visitors also vary the days and times of contact efforts.
The MOM Program offers two additional visits to mothers of children with developmental delays before they reach 33 months. During these additional visits, home visitors inform mothers about the procedures for enrolling their children in early intervention services and obtaining missing documents, such as their children’s birth certificates.
When children are 36 to 60 months of age, home visits are offered to all mothers to support enrollment in preschool and kindergarten and, when applicable, to facilitate the transition between early intervention and preschool special education services.
The MOM Program is offered to postpartum mothers of healthy infants until their children’s fifth birthdays. Targeted mothers are recruited from an urban academic hospital and reside in high-poverty neighborhoods in Philadelphia, Pennsylvania.