Collaborative Advocacy for Better Health: Integrating Legal Aid Services Into Home Visiting Programs




Katherine Kinsey, Joanne Craig, and Shannon Mace

Brief Type



  • Nurse-Family Partnership (NFP)
  • Other Models
  • Parents as Teachers (PAT)


Research has shown that social, economic and environmental factors shape health outcomes, and are especially powerful during periods of development, including pregnancy and early childhood. Since 2010, Health, Education and Legal Assistance Project: A Medical-Legal Partnership (HELP) has partnered with home visitation programs in southeastern Pennsylvania to provide health, education, and legal services to low-income mothers and families in their homes. HELP’s attorneys are fully embedded on site within the Foundation for Delaware County’s Healthy Start and Nurse-Family Partnership in Chester, Pennsylvania, and the Philadelphia Nurse-Family Partnership and Mabel Morris Family Home Visit Programs, implementing the Parents as Teachers model throughout Philadelphia. HELP’s goals are to identify unmet legal needs among home visiting program participants, resolve health-harming legal needs, increase the advocacy capacity of home visiting staff, and improve policies through collaborative systemic advocacy. Each year, HELP attorneys resolve more than 800 legal matters through cases and consultations for over 250 unique home visiting clients. Matters addressed include housing instability and poor housing conditions, accessing public benefits and income instability, obtaining health insurance, enforcing disability rights, and addressing domestic violence, among others. In addition to direct legal services, HELP provides regular on-site training to home visiting staff and community partners to increase advocacy efforts addressing the social determinants of health. Program evaluation results, including quantitative and qualitative data from clients and staff, show that integrating civil legal aid services into home visiting programs results in reduced client stress and high client satisfaction, improved staff advocacy capacity and improved job satisfaction, and significant financial return to the clients and society. The HELP model is adaptable and can be replicated in home visiting programs nationwide. (author abstract)

Data Collection Methods



For More Information

Kinsey, K., Craig, J., & Mace, S. (2020, January 30). Collaborative advocacy for better health: Integrating legal aid services into home visiting programs. National Home Visiting Summit. Presentation conducted at the conference of The Ounce, Washington, DC.
Link to Presentation


  • Collaboration and Coordination