Home-visiting program for first-time families expands in CT

New Haven, Conn. – Yale University’s Minding the Baby® (MTB) National Office was awarded an 18-month grant from the Grossman Family Foundation beginning in January 2017 to expand the MTB home visiting intervention in Connecticut. The MTB National Office is partnering with Family & Children’s Agency in Norwalk and Family Centers in Stamford to replicate the MTB model to serve young families through these agencies.

MTB is a federally recognized, evidence-based, intensive home visiting model developed for first-time young families. Founded by faculty members at the Yale Child Study Center and Yale School of Nursing in collaboration with Fair Haven Community Health Clinic in New Haven, the model reflects a rich collaboration among perspectives in prenatal care, parenting, maternal health, infant mental health, and pediatric health.

This partnership between Family & Children’s Agency and Family Centers is making MTB services available to at-risk and income constrained families living in Norwalk and Stamford. The expansion of MTB to Norwalk and Stamford will help to broaden the continuum of home visiting services available in each community as they work to strengthen families and promote healthy development in young children. 

“We are delighted to have the generous support of the Grossman Family Foundation in our work,” says Arietta Slade, PhD, Clinical Professor in the Yale Child Study Center and MTB Co-Founder. “The needs in many Connecticut communities are great, and we are so thankful to be able to reach more families and provide intensive, interdisciplinary parenting support for new mothers, fathers, and their infants. We have developed a very solid evidence base for the program, and this gift allows us to develop new partnerships and move into two more communities with families in need.”

The MTB intervention aims to improve health and development outcomes in young, vulnerable families during the transition to parenthood. Additionally, the initiative focuses on helping parents understand and manage their own stress and mental health needs, while also learning to interpret and understand their baby. This parental competence leads to healthier families across a number of physical and mental health outcomes.

Currently, MTB services are offered to a small number of families in New Haven through the National Office; as well as through a replication project at Florida State University’s Young Parents Project in Miami, Florida. MTB services are also offered to families through replication in areas of Scotland, England, and Denmark.

The Grossman Family Foundation grant partially supports the MTB National Office in the planning and implementation phases of program replication, while also providing seed funding for the agencies to make implementation possible.

Minding the Baby® (MTB) began as an intensive home visiting model for first-time young mothers and their families, initially developed in New Haven, Connecticut in 2002. The interdisciplinary intervention brings together a home visiting team including a registered nurse and a licensed clinical social worker to promote positive health, mental health, life course, and attachment outcomes in babies, mothers, and their families. Based out of the MTB National Office in New Haven, MTB clinicians provide direct service for young families while Yale research staff conduct research and program evaluation. The MTB National Office is led by faculty and staff at the Yale Child Study Center and Yale School of Nursing. MTB model developers Arietta Slade, PhD and Lois Sadler, PhD, RN, FAAN are eager for the model to have a wider impact in Connecticut and beyond, providing lasting benefits to multiple generations of families. For more information, please visit www.mtb.yale.edu .

Family & Children’s Agency (FCA) is a leading, nonprofit human service organization committed to building better lives by increasing the social and emotional well-being of our clients. FCA provides strength-based, solution focused services that meet the needs of our clients throughout the life cycle including children, families, youth, adults and seniors. Our acquired knowledge and skill has enabled us to be responsive to the changing needs in the communities we serve.

Family Centers is a private, nonprofit organization offering education and human services to children, adults and families in Fairfield County. More than 200 professionals and 3,500 trained volunteers work together to provide a wide range of responsive, innovative programs. A United Way, Community Fund of Darien and New Canaan Community Foundation partner agency, Family Centers is a member of the Connecticut Council of Family Service Agencies and the Alliance for Children and Families and is accredited by the Council on Accreditation (COA) and the National Association for the Education of Young Children (NAEYC). The agency is licensed by the State of Connecticut Departments of Public Health and Children and Families. Visit www.familycenters.org or www.facebook.com/familycentersinc for additional information.

This article was submitted by Rachel Erin Horsting on August 9, 2017.

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