Implementing Family Connects
Implementation last updated: 2020
Family Connects* is a program of the Center for Child and Family Policy at Duke University and the Center for Child & Family Health in Durham, North Carolina. The Center for Child and Family Policy houses Family Connects International, which provides sites with ongoing training and implementation support. The Center for Child & Family Health is a child trauma prevention and treatment center that houses the Family Connects Durham program and serves as the location for on-site nurse training. Program sites partner with local agencies, such as the local public health department, that serve families with children whose ages range from birth to 5 years.
*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.
Model intensity and length
The model provides one to three home visits by a registered nurse about 2 to 12 weeks after the child’s birth, and follow-up contacts with families and community agencies confirm families’ successful linkages with community resources. The initial home visit typically lasts 1.5 to 2 hours. Home visitors provide more than one visit to about 30 percent of families based on their needs and continued interest in the program. An additional 38 percent of families receive at least one telephone support contact from the nurse home visitor. Telephone support contacts after the initial home visit answer families’ questions, ask if the families faced any challenges connecting with referred services, and provide information about additional community resources.
Adaptations and enhancements
Adaptations and enhancements are not available. No information is available on the process, if any, for considering modifications to the model.
The information contained on this page was last updated in July 2020. Recommended further reading lists the sources for this information. In addition, the information contained in this profile was reviewed for accuracy by Family Connects International on February 25, 2020. HomVEE reserves the right to edit the profile for clarity and consistency.