Bright Start TN Clearinghouse


Family Connects Part of the Evidence Based Home Visiting Strategy

What is it?

Family Connects Registered nurses visit the homes of the newborns in their communities, providing health checks for both the infant and the birth mother. The nurse is trained to make a systematic assessment of the family’s strengths, risks and needs, to offer supportive guidance on a wide variety of child and infant health, and to connect families with the additional community resources and services that meet their individual needs. The nurse documents the visit — including the physical assessments and community referrals — and relays the appropriate information to the family’s health-care providers.

In some cases, the nurse recommends longer-term programs, such as Healthy Families America, Early Head Start, and others. This makes Family Connects an excellent gateway to more family support services.

Family Connects International partners with the Center for Child & Family Health to disseminate the Family Connects model. We work with local and state governments, health-care systems, and nonprofits to plan and implement the model. We provide full support for successful implementation, including building community alignment, training nurses, providing screening and assessment tools and a robust data system. Source

What is the evidence base?

Results from research on the Family Connect model can be found here.

In sum, ongoing randomized controlled trials of Family Connects began in 2009. Results have shown:

  • Emergency room visits and hospital overnight stays were reduced by 50% in the first year of life; these results were sustained but did not increase through the second year of life.
  • Mothers were 28% less likely to report possible postpartum clinical anxiety.
  • Mothers reported significantly more positive parenting behaviors, like hugging, comforting and reading to their infants; no significant differences were found in negative parenting behaviors.
  • Mothers expressed increased responsivity to, and acceptance of, their infants.
  • Home environments were improved — homes were safer and had more learning materials to support infant development.
  • Community connections increased by 15%.
  • When using out of home childcare, families used higher quality care.
  • Families had 44% lower rates of Child Protective Services investigations for suspected child abuse or neglect through child age 2; 39% lower investigation rates through child age 5.
  • Community connections increased by 13%.
  • Mothers were 30% less likely to experience possible postpartum depression or anxiety.
  • Families were more likely to use out-of-home childcare.
  • As the number of birth risks increased, infants experienced fewer emergency department visits but more hospital overnights.
  • Mothers were more likely to complete their 6-week postpartum health check, but also had more emergency department visits.
What resources are available through State of Tennessee?




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