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South Carolina MIECHV Program Aims to Alleviate Maternal Depression
South Carolina’s 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 began working to remedy this. HV CoIIN’s mission is to achieve breakthrough improvements in select process and outcome measures while reducing or maintaining programs costs and developing the means to spread the initial improvements more widely within participating organizations. Efforts in South Carolina have been twofold. First, the local implementing agency involved in the HV CoIIN tested 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 screened positive for maternal depression. In addition, the home visitors are trained in the fundamentals of CBT so that they are familiar with the therapy protocol and can support the mothers.
Second, along with all 35 HV CoIIN teams, South Carolina worked to improve family engagement and retention by testing innovative practices. Some of the efforts that South Carolina has taken on include implementation and testing of tools to help nurse home visitors 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 began to develop new processes for connecting with the mental health system and for identifying breakthrough strategies that will bolster their work to engage families.
In 2018, the state has continued its efforts around family engagement and retention, and has included family engagement as a topic in their current quality improvement learning collaborative through its participation in HV CoIIN.
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.
Reviewed July 2018.