Too many families of newborn infants have unmet needs that keep them from achieving successful outcomes for their children, and most communities are not organized in ways that identify and serve these families effectively. Postnatal nurse home-visiting has emerged as an effective way to have positive impact on families and infants at risk for failure in health, education, and wellbeing. We have developed the universal Family Connects model to reach every family of a newborn in a community; screen family-specific needs in areas of healthcare, parenting, family financial stability, and parent mental health; and match each family to community resources to address those needs. We have tested the impact of Family Connects through two randomized controlled trials and a field quasi-experiment and have found positive impact on increasing families’ connections to community agencies, improving parenting behavior, and reducing emergency health care utilization, costs, and child abuse.
Funding from the Pritzker Children’s Initiative allows us to scale up the Family Connects program across the United States. During the initial 27-month period, we plan to increase the number of sites, locations, and mothers and babies that we serve, while laying the groundwork for transformative scale. We plan to identify the most helpful insights that drive site performance, selectively test innovations to the core Family Connects model, enhance site support, and build our own national organization and infrastructure including a centralized data system.