The Durham Family Initiative was a 12-year collaboration with the Center for Child and Family Health supported by the The Duke Endowment to improve family well-being and reduce child maltreatment in Durham County. The endeavor began by providing community-based efforts to help families support their children’s health, growth and development in stressed neighborhoods through a System of Care model. It ended with Durham Connects, a universal newborn nurse home visiting program for Durham County residents which has been shown to improve parenting and health care utilization.
The Durham Family Initiative was founded with the goal improve family well-being and reduce child maltreatment in Durham County.
When the project began in 2002, Durham County had a higher rate of child maltreatment than the rest of the state, which itself was higher than the national average. With the introduction of a county-wide effort called System of Care and other coordinated efforts, child abuse rates in Durham declined 68%.
After a successful pilot, evaluation and randomized control trial, Durham Connects was fully implemented through the Center for Child and Family Health. It has become a popular program with families for providing support for children and families and to help public and private service organizations integrate their services so they can most effectively promote child well-being and prevent child abuse among Durham’s children and families.