Family Connects FAQ for Providers
What does Family Connects Henderson County (FCHC) bring to the table?
FCHC works towards whole-person care, which acknowledges that wellness is more than just physical health. The need for whole-person care is especially poignant in the postpartum period when health concerns for the birthing person or newborn may be heightened and the support systems within a community may seem overwhelming and complicated to access.
FCHC offers families a personalized, two-hour, one-on-one session with a registered nurse. The nurse not only provides the family with mental and physical health screenings, but our nurses will draw from our comprehensive database of community resources for anything the family may need and can facilitate referrals to necessary support. FCHC is working towards providing protective factors against adverse childhood experiences and negative social determinants of health.
Why is it important to connect families to resources?
A lot of communities are resource rich, but struggle to link families to those resources.
Research shows that 94% of families from a universal sample needed some sort of support after bringing home a baby, whether it’s help with feeding and safe sleep or getting information about childcare and parenting groups. A common concern was that families didn’t realize there was a local system of care or they didn’t know how to access it – or even if they did, it was tricky to navigate.
FCHC fills a niche by bridging the gap between caregiver need and community resources. Our nurses are involved at the beginning of a child’s life connecting families to support.
We work with communities to identify barriers and figure out how to problem-solve around those barriers. As a universal program, we have data at our fingertips explaining lots of situations that may prevent a family from accessing whole-person care. For example, if we notice families aren’t going to their well-child visits, we can look at the data and then present the issue to our Community Advisory Board, which is made up of families, local providers and community partners. This team of key players will then troubleshoot ways to get more families to complete their visits.
How do I refer a family for a nurse home visit?
What is the evidence to show the program works?
The Family Connects model has been studied in two rigorous randomized controlled trials that evaluated the results of Durham Connects – the original Family Connects site. These results have been published in highly regarded journals including Pediatrics and the American Journal of Public Health.
Observations by researchers found that by the time a baby was six months old, when compared with those who did not receive a Durham Connects visit, families participating in Durham Connects had:
• Greater community connections
• Better utilization of higher quality childcare
• Higher-quality parenting behaviors
• Enhanced home environments
• Improved maternal mental health
• Reduced emergency medical care for infants
What is the Return on Investment?
For each $1 in program costs, the Durham Connects program yielded $3.02 in savings in emergency health care costs.
Based on the findings, researchers estimate that for cities of a similar size averaging about 3,187 births a year, an annual investment of $2.2 million in nurse home visiting would result in a community health care cost savings of about $7 million in the first two years of a child’s life.
How and when did the initiative begin?
The seeds of Family Connects date back to 2001 when representatives of The Duke Endowment approached Kenneth Dodge, the founding director of the Duke Center for Child and Family Policy. They challenged Dodge to improved child outcomes in Durham and, more specifically, to reduce and prevent child abuse and neglect.
A host of community partners decided the best way to prevent child maltreatment and help children in Durham get a good start would be to support all families – regardless of socioeconomic status – from the very beginning. Durham Connects (now Family Connects Durham) was piloted in 2008 as a universal home visiting program with the goal of creating a replicable model that could be used in other communities.
I love the sound of this! Is there a way I can learn more or get involved?
If you still have questions, please reach out to:
Samantha Jamison, Community Alignment Specialist
This work is funded by North Carolina's Preschool Development Grant (PDG). This program is available without regard to race, color, national origin, disability, age, sex, political affiliation, or religion.