Model Profiles

Family Connects

Family Connects is a population health model and systems-building strategy with nurse home visits at the center. The model offers newborn and postpartum health assessments via a registered nurse, who systematically assesses family needs, provides supportive guidance, and links families to community resources, as needed and desired. Family Connects identifies and aligns community services that support families and young children, resulting in improved communication and continuity across service providers. Through this alignment, the model also identifies gaps between family needs and available community resources. Family Connects aims to reach at least 60 to 70 percent of families with newborns in each community it serves.

What is the model’s approach to providing home visiting services?

Home visits take place 2 to 3 weeks after birth, offering one to three home visits in total. Family Connects recommends families initiate services before the child is 12 weeks old. Families may enroll until the child is 6 months old.

Family Connects serves all families with newborns.

Who is implementing the model?

Home Visitors

Family Connects was implemented by 77 full-time equivalent (FTE) home visitors in 2019. The model requires a bachelor’s degree for home visitors. Home visitors are required to maintain a caseload of six to eight new families per week.

Supervisors

Family Connects was implemented by 19 FTE supervisors in 2019. The model requires a bachelor’s degree for supervisors; a master’s degree is recommended.

Where is the model implemented?

Family Connects operated in 20 local agencies across 12 states in 2019.

Families Served Through Evidence-Based Home Visiting in 2019

15,148
home visits provided
13,167
children served

Mission

Family Connects is committed to improving the health and well-being of children and families by bringing evidence-based solutions to every community, undertaking innovative research and evaluation, and engaging in public policy.

History

In 2001, representatives of The Duke Endowment challenged Dr. Kenneth Dodge, the founding director of Duke University’s Center for Child and Family Policy, to improve child outcomes in Durham, NC—specifically, to reduce and prevent child abuse and neglect. Community collaborators decided the best way to prevent child maltreatment and help children in Durham get a good start was to support all families from the very beginning, regardless of socioeconomic status.

Formerly known as Durham Connects, the model was developed in partnership with the Center for Child and Family Policy, the nonprofit Center for Child & Family Health, and the Durham County Department of Public Health. Durham Connects was piloted in 2008, creating a replicable model that could be used in other communities.

Durham Connects has been studied in two rigorous randomized controlled trials and a quasi-field experiment, the results of which have been published in highly regarded journals. With the publication of positive research findings, communities around the country reached out for training and technical assistance to implement the model. When the model spread to communities outside of Durham, the name was changed to Family Connects. Subsequently, Duke University created Family Connects International to coordinate the research, policy, and implementation of the model.