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Enhanced Home Visiting Through Increased Focus on Social and Emotional Well-Being

Key Features

  1. Training of home visitors on social and emotional well-being and behavioral health of young children and families
  2. Integration of social–emotional and behavioral health screening into home visiting programs
  3. Provision of reflective supervision and case consultation for home visiting staff
  4. Brief intervention, including mental health consultation and crisis intervention, prior to a warm handoff for additional services and supports
  5. Increased coordination and information sharing across home visiting programs

Project LAUNCH strives to expand and enhance existing home visiting services by increasing the focus on the social and emotional well-being and behavioral health of young children and families served by these programs as well as by increasing the capacities of home visitors to successfully address behavioral health issues that arise in the context of home visiting. Home visiting programs serve children and families, particularly first-time parents, by addressing issues involving maternal and child health, child development, parenting strategies, and links to community services.

However, mental health issues, trauma, and partner violence, which are prevalent in families served by these programs, can hinder the effectiveness of home visiting. By integrating mental health supports into home visiting programs, Project LAUNCH helps to maximize the impact of this evidence-based approach to support the well-being of children and families. The intent of Project LAUNCH is to enhance—not duplicate—the efforts of existing home visiting programs.

Project LAUNCH grantees implement a range of activities within this strategy. For example, grantees:

  • Bring in new programs to meet families’ needs and work on sustaining and aligning these programs with state-level home visiting efforts if the local Project LAUNCH community has no home visiting services or inadequate access to such services.
  • Expand and enhance the capacity of existing home visiting services by adding mental health components such as staff training, screening, reflective supervision, case consultation, and brief intervention.
  • Integrate a mental health consultant into home visiting teams who can attend case reviews and team meetings, provide individual case consultation, and offer training and support on the infusion of effective mental health strategies into home visiting programs.
  • Train home visiting staff on issues such as children’s social–emotional development, adult behavioral health, and the impact of trauma.
  • Provide support for home visiting staff experiencing second trauma, stress, and burnout related to the intensity of working with struggling, high-need families.
  • Promote the use of developmental and behavioral health screening of children and adults served by home visiting programs.
  • Provide professional development on systems navigation (that is, linking families to appropriate services), which helps strengthen the home visiting model when intensive case management is needed.
  • Create or participate in the development of a coalition—when communities have multiple, well-established home visiting programs that use various models—to increase information sharing and coordination across programs and to maximize the impacts of effective support and training. Efforts may include the creation of a centralized intake process for families to ensure they are matched with home visiting programs that best meet their needs.
  • Integrate Project LAUNCH efforts with the Maternal, Infant, and Early Childhood Home Visiting (MIECHV) grant to make policy changes and develop coordinated systems of home visiting services for families. MIECHV is a federally funded home visiting program awarded to states, territories, and tribes.

Grantee Highlights

  • Project LAUNCH in New York City funded a mental health clinician to provide reflective supervision, a strategy in which supervisory staff members regularly assist home visitors in reflecting on their work. To sustain Project LAUNCH efforts, home visiting supervisors were trained to continue the practice.
  • California Project LAUNCH used funds to provide a mental health clinician to work with home visitors at four home visiting programs in East Oakland. The specialist consulted on matters regarding families’ mental health issues and offered short-term mental health services for families in crisis.
  • Iowa’s Project LAUNCH collaborated with community partners to implement a continuum of home visiting services and tools to ensure that families were enrolled in programs that best suited their needs.
  • Project LAUNCH sites in Oklahoma and Cherokee Nation participated in a home visiting consortium to coordinate across various home visiting models.
  • Illinois Project LAUNCH used community outreach workers to help connect families to home visiting programs in a high-need community where home visiting was being underutilized.

Beyond the Grant: LAUNCH Grantees’ Successes in Expanding and Sustaining Services to Children and Families

This brief highlights many notable and emerging successes of grantees in expanding and sustaining services for children and families in the five core Project LAUNCH strategies (screening and assessment; enhanced home visiting through increased focus on social and emotional well-being; mental health consultation in early care and education programs; family strengthening and parent skills training; and integration of behavioral health into primary care settings).

Home Visiting Community Planning Tool

Describes key components of successful home visiting services. The tool can be used by communities to identify community needs and strengths based on data, explore current home visiting assets and service gaps, choose an evidence-based program model, and analyze components of both program- and system-level implementation that are critical to the replication of high-quality home visiting programs.

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