Assessing Needs and Resources for the Home Visiting System in Alabama: A Mixed Methods Approach




Martha S. Wingate, Matthew Fifolt, Julie Preskitt, Beverly Mulvihill, Mary Ann Pass, Lauren Wallace, Dianne Simms, and Susan McKim

Brief Type

Journal publication



The purpose of this article is to describe the initial assessment for the development of a home visiting (HV) system in a state with no existing system. We outline a mixed methods process where the quantitative component was used to identify the communities that possess ‘‘at-risk’’ profiles, and the qualitative component explored the resources and gaps in existing HV services. We employed a mixed methods approach, using six categories of indicators from quantitative secondary data sources  to identify ‘‘at-risk’’ profiles for Alabama’s 67 counties. A weighted score for each indicator was calculated and counties were ranked. Surveys and focus groups were conducted to further define resources and gaps of existing HV  programs. The composite indicator scores identified 13 counties as having the highest level of risk. Five of these 13 communities had no HV home visitation services. Areas of focus for future HV system  development include trust, communication, availability, cost, and timeliness. In this assessment related to the Alabama HV system, we used quantitative data to apply criteria to the indicators being measured and qualitative data to supplement the quantitative findings. We examined resources, gaps, program quality, and capacity of the existing HV programs in order to assist in the future development of the HV system and early childhood system. The methods presented in this paper have potential applications beyond HV programs and systems, including broader examinations of complex systems for service provision to the maternal and child health populations. (author abstract)

Data Collection Methods

  • Focus groups
  • Program administrative record reviews



For More Information

Wingate, M. S., Fifolt, M., Preskitt, J., Mulvihill, B., Pass, M. A., Wallace, L., ... & McKim, S. (2014). Assessing needs and resources for the home visiting system in Alabama: A mixed methods approach. Maternal and Child Health Journal, 18(5), 1075-1084. doi: 10.1007/s10995-013-1335-5
Author Contact Information:
Martha S. Wingate


  • Collaboration and Coordination