Trying to bridge the worlds of home visitation and child welfare: Lessons learned from a formative evaluation

Mary Jo Stahlschmidt, Melissa Jonson-Reid, Laura Pons, John Constantino, Patricia L. Kohl, Brett Drake, Wendy Auslander

Research output: Contribution to journalArticlepeer-review

2 Scopus citations

Abstract

Young children in families contacting the child welfare system are at high risk of recurrent maltreatment and poor developmental outcomes. Home visitation programs to support parenting may offer hope as a preventive resource but these programs are rarely linked with child welfare. This article describes findings from a formative evaluation of a program designed to connect child welfare-involved families to an existing evidence-supported home visitation program. The program, Early Childhood Connections (ECC), was developed by a field-university partnership including leaders from a public state child welfare system, regional early childhood education systems, and several local agencies providing family support services. Despite extensive and rigorous planning by the workgroup and collaborative refining of the intervention approach as agency needs changed, the continued structural and policy changes within both the home visitation agency and the child welfare agencies created significant ongoing barriers to implementation. On the other hand, child welfare-involved families were receptive to engaging with home visitation. Implications of lessons learned for ongoing program development in this area are discussed.

Original languageEnglish
Pages (from-to)133-140
Number of pages8
JournalEvaluation and Program Planning
Volume66
DOIs
StatePublished - Feb 2018

Keywords

  • Child welfare
  • Formative evaluation
  • Home visitation
  • Service coordination

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