Policy Resource

Indiana's MIECHV Team Engages Hard to Reach Families

Jan 9, 2016

Learn how 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 retention efforts.

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 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 participate 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.

Relationship building is prioritized from referrals to evaluations because trust is the most important aspect of engagement and retention with hard to reach families. Communicating a clear understanding of home visiting programs to community partners helps eliminate ineligible referrals. This ensures 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 goes back to Indiana’s approach to strengths-based persistence, which means that family support is checking in, calling, texting, using social media (upon consent), dropping by, writing cards, bring 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.

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