Family Connects Model

The Family Connects model is an evidence-based approach to supporting all newborns and their families. By reaching all families in a community, Family Connects improves health outcomes at the population level.

Every family needs support after bringing home a baby. The needs are different in each family – from help with feeding and safe sleep to getting information about child care and parenting groups. Family Connects links parents to the individual community resources they need.

How it works

Family Connects International works with communities to plan for the model’s implementation and sustainability. We help establish community networks, and train the nurses who will conduct the home visits.

Family Connects visits are voluntary. Newborns’ primary caregivers, including foster and adoptive parents, are offered a Family Connects visit shortly after the baby’s birth. Often this invitation is extended in the hospital. But families of newborns learn of the program via other channels as well, such as pediatricians, OB-GYNs, and community agencies.

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.