Family Connects bridges the gap between parents and community resources, with the belief that every family has needs around the birth of a child. The program aims to improve family well-being, including reducing emergency medical care for infants and improving parent behavior and child care selection.
Family Connects is a universal approach to supporting newborns and their families. The program provides between one and three nurse home visits to every family with a newborn beginning at about three weeks of age, regardless of income or demographic risk. Using a tested screening tool, the nurse measures newborn and maternal health and assesses strengths and needs to link the family to community resources.
Enrolling approximately 38,000 pregnant women in Chicago, IL.
For an estimated cost of $733 per child, enrolling 37,852 pregnant women in Chicago, the following results can be expected after implementation:
We use a variety of data sources to tailor our analysis to the location and to make our estimates as accurate as possible. However, sometimes data is unavailable, either because it has not been collected, or because it is not shared publicly. We encourage government agencies and other organizations to share their de-identified data online and researchers to prioritize the following gaps in the data.
Births by Income - For assessing the impact of the program on health equity, we examine outcomes across race/ethnicity (white, black, Hispanic, and other) and income (<200%PFL and >=200%FPL). Income was not available for birth records, but insurance payer was provided. We cross-checked and found using data from the ACS that Medicaid status acted as a good proxy for the number of births on <200% FPL, which allowed us to separate each race/ethnicity group into two income groups more accurately.
Improved Parenting Behaviors - The intervention was found to improve parenting behaviors among the participants. Previous research has shown, this leads to better health, education, and other outcomes down the road for newborns. However, without proper baseline data on the current levels of parenting behaviors in Chicago, it is very difficult to translate the benefits found in the original Family Connects studies to a different context. Omitting this outcome (as well as other downstream positive impacts) means that our estimates are likely somewhat lower than the true benefits of the program.
Postpartum Depression and Maternal Anxiety - Data for postpartum depression was available for the entire city of Chicago. However, maternal anxiety was taken from a meta-analysis, and the values for subgroups (race/ethnicity and income) were imputed based on information from a source on California, where overall rates of postpartum depression lined up similarly to Chicago's. Local estimates within Chicago's community areas were assumed to match that of the overall city.
Maternal Employment - The overall rate, as well as data points used for imputing the sub-group levels (race/ethnicity and income) were taken from national measures provided by the Bureau of Labor and Statistics. Local estimates within Chicago's community areas were assumed to match that of the overall city.