Implementing Family Connections (Birth to Age 5)

Implementation last updated: 2013

The information in this profile reflects feedback, if provided, from this model’s developer as of the above date. The description of the implementation of the model(s) here may differ from how the model(s) was implemented in the research reviewed to determine this model’s evidence of effectiveness. Inclusion in the implementation report does not mean the practices described meet the HHS criteria for evidence of effectiveness. Similarly, models described here may not all have impact studies, and those with impact studies may vary in their effectiveness. Please see the Effectiveness button on the left for more information about research on the effectiveness of the models discussed here.

Materials and forms to support implementation

Operations manuals

The original Baltimore-based Family Connections program developed intervention and replication manuals. Replication sites tailor the intervention manual to local policies and context, alter the logic model based on geographic differences in target populations, and build record-keeping systems to support practice and eliminate duplication of existing systems.

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Service delivery forms

Replication sites develop or adapt service delivery forms that conform to Family Connections practice standards.

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Assessment tools

Families are screened for risk factors associated with maltreatment. No information is available on specific forms used to conduct screening. Sites are required to use standardized assessment instruments to guide achievement of targeted outcomes. The instruments are used at baseline and at least every 90 days to measure changes in risk and protective factors. Technical assistance is provided during site initiation to select instruments that match the tailored logic model.

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The core curriculum is tailored for each site as part of the site-specific intervention manual.

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Available languages

Replication sites have delivered Family Connections in Spanish and Asian languages.

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Fidelity measurement

Replication sites complete a fidelity self-assessment every six months and participate in onsite fidelity assessments by the developer every six months.

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Fidelity standards

The fidelity criteria, which are based on the model’s nine principles (see model overview), include 14 criteria related to program structure, 5 criteria related to program administration, 5 criteria related to professional development, and 6 criteria related to research. The fidelity criteria are as follows:

Program Structure

  1. Use, at a minimum, the original Family Connections screening criteria (with the exception of geographical requirements and age limitations) as clear inclusion criteria for targeting and screening program clients.
  2. After clients are assigned to the Family Connections intervention, a Family Connections practitioner assigned to work with the family on an ongoing basis initiates the therapeutic alliance through face-to-face contact with the client within one business day of acceptance at intake.
  3. Provide at least one hour of face-to-face Family Connections services to families at least once per week for at least three months.
  4. Provide most services in the community, meeting families where they live.
  5. Use clinical assessment instruments to guide the identification of risk and protective factors associated with child neglect (or maltreatment) as part of the comprehensive family assessment.
  6. Develop and implement marketing and recruitment procedures targeted toward potential program clients.
  7. Establish and manage referral procedures for actively reaching out to eligible families with offers of service.
  8. Form and use a community advisory panel that incorporates consumer input.
  9. Provide emergency services to address initial concrete needs and on an ongoing basis as needed.
  10. Conduct comprehensive family assessments to guide the service delivery process.
  11. Develop outcome-driven service plans geared to decrease risk of child maltreatment and increase protective factors.
  12. Deliver tailored, direct therapeutic services to help clients reduce risks, maximize protective factors, and achieve service outcomes and goals.
  13. Advocate on behalf of clients in the community and facilitate service provision by other organizations/individuals.
  14. Implement a process for evaluation of client change over time and at case closing.

Administrative Activities

  1. Establish safety policies for practitioners related to their work in the community.
  2. Develop, implement, and manage continuous methods for assessing quality assurance.
  3. Develop, implement, and oversee risk management procedures (such as child abuse and neglect reporting, self-injurious behavior).
  4. Track time units of service by type of services delivered.
  5. Track costs of all service units.

Professional Development Activities

  1. Recruit and support a professional workforce (social work education or equivalent).
  2. Provide initial training and orientation to all staff and provide all staff members with the Family Connections intervention manual as revised by each program.
  3. Provide at least weekly clinical supervision to Family Connections service providers.
  4. Foster an organizational culture that reinforces the Family Connections philosophical principles, intervention methods, and procedures via weekly clinical seminars or team meetings and interpersonal interactions.
  5. Provide opportunities for staff to participate in seminars, conferences, and/or other training to support their continuous professional development in Family Connections–related social work practice methods.

Research Activities

  1. Use a logic model to specify the connections between outputs and outcomes.
  2. Use an experimental research design with random assignment to at least two alternative treatments.
  3. Measure change over time in risk factors, protective factors, and child safety and well-being outcomes, including at least a six-month follow-up (after services end) measurement interval.
  4. Implement strategies that document the process of implementation and the service delivery process and record time units of services.
  5. Use a combination of self-report and observational standardized measures and collect data on official child abuse and neglect reports to assess change over time.
  6. Use specific core measures as agreed on with other Family Connections replication grantees.
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Implementation notes

The information contained on this page was last updated in April 2013. Recommended Further Reading lists the sources for this information. In addition, the information contained in this profile was reviewed for accuracy by the Family Connections developer on March 28, 2013. HomVEE reserves the right to edit the profile for clarity and consistency.

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