Implementing Maternal Early Childhood Sustained Home-Visiting Program (MECSH) Meets HHS Criteria

Last updated: April 2018

Model Overview

Implementation Support

The Maternal Early Childhood Sustained Home-Visiting (MECSH) program* is a program of Western Sydney University (under license with the University of New South Wales), Australia, which provides implementation support. MECSH is implemented within the context of a universal maternal, child, and family health services system. This system guarantees all women access to free prenatal care, and children from birth to age 5 receive free health care services.

* The model was formerly known as the Miller Early Childhood Sustained Home-Visiting program.

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Theoretical Model

The MECSH model expands traditional postpartum care in Australia by providing home visiting services during and after pregnancy that are designed to enhance maternal and child outcomes. Based on an ecological framework, MECSH addresses issues at the individual, family, and community levels that affect the health and well-being of families and children. The child-focused prevention model supports families using an individualized, strengths-based approach and strives to establish a sustained, trusting partnership between the family and home visitor.

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Target Population

The model targets disadvantaged, pregnant women at risk of adverse maternal and/or child health and development outcomes. To determine eligibility, women are assessed for the following risk factors: lack of support, history of mental illness or childhood abuse, depression, life stressors, history of domestic violence, or alcohol or drug use in the home.

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Targeted Outcomes

MECSH is designed to support women’s transition to parenthood as they learn to adapt and self-manage despite the day-to-day challenges they face; improve maternal and child health and well-being; help mothers establish and achieve goals for themselves and their children; and help mothers foster relationships within the family and community.

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Model Components

MECSH provides individualized, home-based services focusing on parent education, maternal health and well-being, family relationships, and goal setting. In addition, the nurse home visitors implement the Learning to Communicate curriculum when the child is one month old. The curriculum is designed to foster children’s development and is delivered monthly for 12 months. The home visitors also support families on issues such as housing and finances. The home visitors receive support from and refer families to practitioners within the maternal, child, and family health services system as necessary.

In addition to home visiting, MECSH provides group activities, such as parenting groups, and links families to events within the community.

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Model Intensity and Length

MECSH is designed to provide a minimum of 25 home visits, which begin during pregnancy and continue to the child’s second birthday. The visits last from 60 to 90 minutes.

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MECSH is offered to families in Australia, South Korea, the United Kingdom, and the United States.

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Adaptations and Enhancements

No adaptations or enhancements have been made to the model.

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Implementation Notes

The information contained on this page was last updated in April 2018. Recommended Further Reading lists the sources for this information. In addition, the information contained in this profile was reviewed for accuracy by Dr. Lynn Kemp at the Western Sydney University on January 8, 2018. HomVEE reserves the right to edit the profile for clarity and consistency.

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