In a June 2021 special session Connecticut legislators allocated $8 million of the state’s ARPA funds to support a Universal Nurse Home Visiting pilot in the Greater Bridgeport Region through its passage of SB 1202.
In an innovative and collaborative approach, the Office of Early Childhood (OEC), along with leaders from the Department of Social Services (DSS), Office of Health Strategy (OHS), Department of Children and Families (DCF), and Department of Public Health (DPH) unified to support the integration of the UNHV program with the state’s Community Health Worker (CHW) program. The intent was to address the physical and social determinants of health that have adversely impacted many newborn families, which has been only exacerbated by COVID-19. As part of their commitment, DPH committed $3.696,000 in funding from the Centers for Disease Control in support of the CHW component.
The UNHV-CHW Greater Bridgeport Region Pilot plan integrates the Family Connects model with CHW initiatives. The UNHV-CHW pilot adheres to an evidence-based model developed by Family Connects that will support UNHV registered nurses in the provision of 1-3 home visits to newborn families. Based upon the results of their assessment UHNV nurses will refer families to CHW who will connect families with community resources to address persisting health disparities due to systemic racism. Services will be offered to any family giving birth in one of two hospitals who also reside in the Greater Bridgeport Catchment area. There is no financial eligibility requirement to participate.
The OEC and their state partners released a Request for Proposal for the pilot in Greater Bridgeport on June 17, 2022. Connecticut’s OEC will select contractors by August 17, 2022 and expects to roll out the pilot program by the Spring of 2023. Sustainability of the program beyond 2024 as well as expansion to other areas of the state will take into consideration the potential of Medicaid/Insurance reimbursements, philanthropy, and additional state agency funding to cover the costs in additional years.