Policy Resource

Florida Undertakes Multiple Strategies to Retain Home Visiting Staff

Jan 22, 2018

Florida Maternal, Infant and Early Childhood Home Visiting (MIECHV) leadership have identified staff recruitment and retention as critical goals since the program began.

Staff retention is seen as a reflection of the staff recruitment process, the training and orientation provided to staff, the quality of supervision, and other supports that programs can offer to keep home visitors committed to the program. Florida has utilized a number of strategies to support local implementing agencies (LIAs) to improve their staff recruitment and retention in recognition that the home visitors play an enormous role in family engagement with the program.

During the start-up period, the state MIECHV staff allowed the LIAs time to find the right constellation of staff and provided staffing data so that vacancies could be resolved promptly. The state MIECHV team works with each LIA to develop their own staffing plan to best meet the needs of the LIA and community it serves, and that meets the expectations of the model. Providers are required to notify the Florida Association of Healthy Start Coalitions of any staffing changes so that staff turnover can be addressed as quickly as possible.

Through a grant, the state began providing mindfulness-based stress reduction training to front-line staff in 2016. Since its implementation, Florida has expanded the training offered to include half day retreats with experts in the field and 8 self-paced modules. Participants learn and practice mindfulness skills that will mobilize their inner resources to benefit both themselves and the families they serve. These mindfulness trainings give staff more experience in healthy communications and attitudes, empathy, gratitude, emotional self-regulation and a healthy work environment; all skills that will assist them in their careers as MIECHV staff.

The steps that Florida has taken have enabled them to achieve an extremely high retention rate of ~99% in 2017. Florida MIECHV leadership attributes much of this improvement to the program’s emphasis on continuous quality improvement (CQI). Working in partnership with the CQI, the emphasis on supporting reflective supervision has aided in the success of staff retention in Florida. A trend that leaders in the Florida MIECHV have observed is that as programs become more experienced and comfortable implementing this new model, they improve on their ability to hire compatible and qualified staff.

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