Family Connects International (FCI)  is committed to strengthening bonds for families with newborns and linking them directly to supportive community care resources through universal newborn nurse home visiting.

Our vision is a world with equitable outcomes for each and every newborn.

The United States is facing a maternal mortality public health crisis.

The U.S. has the highest pregnancy-related death rate among developed nations and that rate rose a staggering 40% in 2021 compared to the previous year.

How is this happening in a country with one of the most advanced health care systems in the world?

Family Connects is a universal solution to a preventable crisis.

The policy team at FCI is committed to advocating for sustainability of Family Connects on the national, state, and local levels of government.
Our policy priorities for 2023-2024 include:

Maternal Mortality - The Fourth Trimester

Since 2018, the American College of Obstetricians and Gynecologists (ACOG) has recommended that postpartum clinical visits occur within the first three weeks. However, most of those giving birth in the UnitedStates navigate the fourth trimester (the 12-week postpartum period) independently, waiting until 4–6 weeks postpartum to visit their medical provider. As many as 40% of moms do not attend a postpartum medical visit at all, and attendance rates are even lower among those who face barriers to health care access.As part of its recommendations, the ACOG committee specifically mentioned nurse home visitors as alternative providers of this first postpartum visit during the fourth trimester, citing research on outcomes from the Family Connects model of universal newborn nurse home visiting.

Driving Sustainable, Innovative Investments in Family Connects

We collaborate closely with our community partners to advocate for local investments aimed at implementing, sustaining, and expanding the reach of the Family Connects. FCI places a high priority on establishing relationships with federal, state, and local policymakers to jointly develop funding sources for local programming that encompasses both traditional and nontraditional avenues. We emphasize the importance of a mixed funding model to ensure free visits for families as an integral component of a comprehensive range of family support programs, with the goal of improving outcomes for children and families. ACOG committee specifically mentioned nurse home visitors as alternative providers of this first postpartum visit during the fourth trimester, citing research on outcomes from the Family Connects model of universal newborn nurse home visiting.

Universal System Alignment

Our efforts in community alignment involve coordinating the organization and dissemination of resources, while also identifying gaps or deficiencies in resources, systems, policies, and processes to ensure improved accessibility for all families. We actively contribute to values of transparency and accountability through continuous quality improvement data reviews and discussions. We aim to collaborate across various systems within communities, including medical providers, doulas, lactation consultants, early childhood education professionals, and social services to achieve our shared goals. Public investments in Family Connects ensure that community resources are maximized. We emphasize the importance of a mixed funding model to ensure free visits for families as an integral component of a comprehensive range of family support programs, with the goal of improving outcomes for children and families. ACOG committee specifically mentioned nurse home visitors as alternative providers of this first postpartum visit during the fourth trimester, citing research on outcomes from the Family Connects model of universal newborn nurse home visiting.

Nursing Workforce Development

An essential service provided by FCI is the development of the nursing workforce. Through our programs, we create a pipeline of nurses and nurse supervisors, offering career opportunities and establishing a well-educated workforce that serves both urban and rural communities. In the FY 2022, we trained over 144 nurses within our network, and over the past five years, we have supported 629 nurses. FCI actively seeks innovative opportunities to advance investments in a robust nursing workforce to serve both urban and rural communities.

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FCI’s 2023-2024
Policy Priorities

Family Connects International is committed to strengthening bonds for families with newborns and linking them directly to supportive community care resources through universal newborn nurse home visiting.

Our vision is a world with equitable outcomes for each and every newborn.

Download the PDF

About
Family Connects

At FCI, we believe our Family Connects Model can benefit each and every newborn. That's why we employ a universal approach to reach all families of newborns, including foster, adoptive, and bereaved parents, to offer a free, nurse home-visit for a maternal and child health screen and connection to local services to meet their unique needs.

Download the PDF

Additional Resources

Prenatal-to-3 Policy Impact Center: State Policy Level Checklists

The Prenatal-to-3 Policy Impact Center recently shared the newest State Policy Lever Checklists that provide a breakdown of the policy components state leaders should consider when setting priorities or drafting legislation. There is a checklist for Comprehensive Screening and Connection Programs that focuses primarily on Family Connects, DULCE, and Healthy Steps.

The Checklists include a comprehensive list of policy levers, from eligibility requirements to generosity of benefits, administration, and funding mechanisms. They also call out considerations to support equitable program implementation.

prenatal-three

The Evidence

Family Connects is an evidence-based model that supports all families of newborns. Two randomized controlled trials of Family Connects were conducted in Durham, NC, when the model was formerly called Durham Connects. We continue to engage in high quality research to drive data-driven improvement of the Family Connects Model.

Read more about the evidence to support Family Connects on our research page.

Meet Melea

Melea Rose-Waters, MSW

Senior Policy Director

melea@familyconnects.org

As a registered lobbyist, Melea develops FCI’s policy agenda on the local, state, and federal levels and coordinates policy outreach for local community partners.

Melea Rose-Waters
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