Since 2012, the Arkansas Maternal, Infant and Early Childhood Home Visiting (MIECHV) team has been piloting centralized intake in the Central Little Rock Promise Neighborhood (CLRPN).
Centralized intake allows for families to be matched with the best fit home visiting program, resulting in higher family retention in home visiting programs. As a result, program recruitment shifted from working towards caseload capacity to meeting the needs of individual families. The process to create central intake began by bringing together the four models working in the area; Nurse-Family Partnership (NFP), Parents as Teachers (PAT), Healthy Families America (HFA), and Home Instruction for Parents of Preschool Youngsters (HIPPY) and one promising practice; model Following Baby Back Home (FBBH), to develop a shared understanding of the basic eligibility requirements for each program. They then developed a common intake family flow chart to show how families would be connected to programs.
The models also agreed to develop and use joint outreach materials for recruitment, including a parent brochure and recruitment handout. These joint materials are used when home visiting programs do outreach at health fairs and other venues. Doing outreach together raises visibility of home visiting in general and diminishes competition among the programs.
Originally the group explored creating a family fit tool to determine characteristics of families which seem to match a program’s services so that if families are eligible for more than one program (for example PAT and HFA have overlapping eligibility) this tool could determine where the family should be referred. However, the team decided that a more individualized approach would be more beneficial. Now if a family is eligible for more than one program, a Family Fit Meeting is scheduled to discuss which program will best meet the family’s needs. This conversation includes the family, the representatives from the programs, the central intake coordinator and a staff member from the Arkansas Home Visiting Network. The referral is still a voluntary process. If the family does not accept the group recommendation but requests a different program and they are eligible for that program, they will be connected to it. This process was implemented in Central Little Rock in the summer 2013.
Lessons learned from the Central Little Rock pilot were used to develop a toolkit in 2015 to assist other communities interested in implementing a coordinated intake process for home visiting. The toolkit provides guidance for the design, implementation, and assessment of a coordinated intake system. It was updated in 2016 to reflect additional lessons learned from replication. The state also released a brief highlighting lessons learned from the evaluation of the pilot and plans for future expansion.
Updated September 2020