Designation as a Family Connects program site requires certification from Family Connects International. To be certified, program sites must adhere to all of the 13 essential model elements (described under Fidelity Standards) in the Family Connects Implementation and Policies Manual and submit the names of the specialists the program site consults with. Program sites must document model adherence at initial certification and yearly during off-site and on-site program reviews.
The start-up period leading to full certification usually takes 12 to 18 months. Initial implementation focuses on community alignment and readiness. Nurse home visits can begin after pre-service training (described under Pre-Service Staff Training). After 6 to 8 weeks of conducting home visits, Family Connects International nurse trainers conduct site visits to ensure model fidelity at each program site. After the site visits, Family Connects International nurse trainers continue to provide in-person and virtual support for each program site throughout the certification process.