How to get Family Connects in your community

A group of nurses in a training session
Nurses receive training in all aspects of delivering home visits

Launching a new Family Connects program takes time and depends on community readiness. During the planning phase of work, the FCI team provides consultation regarding all aspects of program development, including: identifying an organizational home for the program; creating a community advisory board; developing a learning agenda/evaluation plan; and providing guidance on budgeting and staffing. When implementing Family Connects in any community, the goal is to integrate with existing community services and complement that which is already being done. Implementing partners may include local nonprofit organizations, health departments, hospital systems, state-wide early childhood, education or health systems, physician groups and/or universities.

Building the capacity for Family Connects may seem daunting at first. But Family Connects International staff is with you every step of the way, providing training, support and guidance!

Because it is part of the continuum of care for newborns and their parents, implementing the Family Connects model requires ownership and commitment from community members and other stakeholders. Communities must adhere to the evidence-based protocols to achieve certification. Costs for training and certification vary by a community’s size.

Core components for Implementing Family Connects

Communities seeking to launch Family Connects must create comprehensive plans to address the following components in order to implement the model successfully:

Engagement and scheduling for the home visit ideally occurs face-to-face in the hospital post-delivery. Registered nurses provide health and psychosocial assessments of newborn, mother, and family with connection to community resources and offer with follow-up as needed. A key consideration to staffing is the program home, and replication sites have employed different options based on their communities such as health systems, county public health departments, and child-serving non-profits.

Community Alignment is the process of working with community agencies, systems, and individuals to impact systems level change. The community level outcomes are dependent upon the program’s ability to make appropriate and timely connections to effective community resources. Family Connects International staff will work with you to implement effective strategies for assessing your community readiness, identifying community services and key stakeholders, assessing capacity and infrastructure, developing a directory of resources, and maintaining the process.

The program is designed for universal community coverage, with the goal of at least 60-70 percent of eligible families participating. All families with newborns in a coverage area are eligible, whether the area is a region, state, city or neighborhood. Quality assurance for the clinical team requires regularly scheduled supervision, peer collaboration, and assessments to ensure adherence to fidelity. Documenting the home visit(s) and contacts with families and community referrals is required for the medical record, performance and outcome reports and for the Family Connects home office.