Policy Resource

South Carolina MIECHV Program Aims to Alleviate Maternal Depression

Feb 9, 2016

Resource information on state policies and initiatives that impact infants, toddlers and their families

South Carolinas Maternal, Infant and Early Childhood Home Visiting (MIECHV) program leaders recognized a gap between evidence-based practice and what was happening on the ground related to alleviating maternal depression within home visiting. As part of their participation in the Home Visiting Collaborative Improvement and Innovation Network (HV CoIIN), state administrators are working to remedy this. Efforts in South Carolina are twofold. First, the local implementing agency involved in the HV CoIIN is testing the efficacy of embedding a licensed mental health professional into the program to provide in-house cognitive-behavioral therapy (CBT) in a group setting for mothers who screen positive for maternal depression. In addition, the home visitors are being trained in the fundamentals of CBT so that they can be familiar with the therapy protocol and can sup¬port the mothers. Second, along with all 35 HV CoIIN teams, South Carolina is working to improve family engagement and retention through testing innovative practices. Current efforts underway include the implementation and testing of tools to help nurse home visitors to have a focused conversation with their newly enrolled families about their current and future engagement at specific time points. As a result of their participation in the HV CoIIN, MIECHV program leaders are develop¬ing new processes for connecting with the mental health system and for identifying breakthrough strategies that will bolster their work to engage families.

Learn more about South Carolina and how other states are using MIECHV funds to strengthen their early childhood systems in ZERO TO THREEs paper, The Maternal, Infant, and Early Childhood Home Visiting Program: Smart Investments Build Strong Systems for Young Children found at

http://www.zerotothree.org/policy/homevisiting/docs/ztt-homevisiting_final.pdf.

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