Policy Resource

Indiana's MIECHV Team Engages Hard to Reach Families

Jan 22, 2018

The Indiana Maternal Infant and Early Childhood Home Visiting Team (MIECHV) prioritizes its outreach efforts to ensure family retention in their program through both comprehensive outreach and the employment of creative retention efforts.

Healthy Families Indiana (HFI) and Nurse Family Partnership (NFP) provide home visiting services under the umbrella of the Indiana MIECHV team. Both programs use a strengths-based approach to maximize outreach. To accomplish this, home visitors have participated in the Institute for Strengthening Families professional development program that offers sessions twice a year on best practices and specialized education opportunities. Sessions cover topics such as cultural competency, infant mental health certification, and training for home visitors to become lactation consultants.

There is an emphasis put on relationship building from referrals to evaluations because trust is one of the most important aspects of engagement and retention with hard to reach families. Another way in which Indiana demonstrates success in engaging difficult to reach families is through communicating a clear understanding of home visiting programs to community partners. By doing so, they ensure that a family’s first experience is one of acceptance, openness and an offer of service. By making use of client-centered scheduling, communication with families emphasizes the partnership between home visiting staff and families, which manifests itself on multiple communications platforms. This level of persistence and flexibility connects back to Indiana’s approach to strengths-based persistence. According to this approach, family support includes checking in, calling, texting, using social media (upon consent), dropping by, writing cards, bringing by books or diapers and sharing activity ideas. This practice translates into the programs’ evaluation; Indiana’s MIECHV team frequently seeks out both formal and informal feedback from participating families in order to identify what engages families and what elements of the program need improvement.

As of September 30, 2016, Indiana had provided direct home visiting services funded by MIECHV Formula and Competitive grant dollars to 6,962 families through 146,338 home visits since the inception of MIECHV funding in 2011. Indiana was identified by HRSA as 1 of 12 states with a notable achievement highlighted in the HRSA MEICHV Program Brief.

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