Evaluation of a Family Connects Dissemination to Four High-Poverty Rural Counties.
OBJECTIVES: Home visiting is a popular approach to improving the health and well-being of families with infants and young children in the United States; but, to date, no home visiting program has achieved population impact for families in rural communities. The current report includes evaluation results from the dissemination of a brief, universal postpartum home visiting program to four high-poverty rural counties. METHODS: The study utilized a quasi-experimental design. From Sept. 1, 2014-Dec. 31, 2015, families of all 994 resident births in four rural eastern North Carolina counties were assigned to receive Family Connects (FC; intervention group). A representative subsample of families participated in impact evaluation when the infants were 6 months old: 392 intervention group families and 126 families with infants born between Feb. 1, 2014-July 31, 2014 (natural comparison group). Data were analyzed preliminarily for reporting to funders in 2016 and, more comprehensively, using propensity score matching in 2020. RESULTS: Of FC-eligible families, 78% initiated participation; 83% of participating families completed the program (net completion = 65%). At age 6 months, intervention parents reported more community connections, more frequent use of community services, greater social support, and greater success with infants sleeping on their backs. Intervention infants had fewer total emergency department and urgent care visits. Intervention parents had more total emergency department and urgent care visits and (marginally) fewer overnights in the hospital. CONCLUSIONS FOR PRACTICE: FC can be implemented successfully in high-poverty rural communities with broad reach and positive benefits for infants and families.
Goodman, WB; Dodge, KA; Bai, Y; Murphy, RA; O'Donnell, K
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