The SX6 Coalition Strategic Plan has a goal to ensure all children receive early and regular developmental screenings and immunizations, and are linked to accessible, coordinated, integrated, and responsive basic needs, physical, dental, and mental health services, including services for children with developmental delays. In order to help us achieve that goal, we ask that you share the local news story highlighted on KVUE via your social media channels or via email. Please tag @UnitedWayATX and @AustinPublicHealth, example below:
FamilyConnects was featured on KVUE! We are so excited to have spent the last year serving families in Austin/Travis County & look forward to expanding the program along with our partners @AustinPublicHealth. @UnitedWayATX Link: https://www.kvue.com/article/life/parenting/program-provides-free-home-visits-new-parents-leaving-hospital/269-a1ab9a42-3d38-4db5-ac56-89457c35a4e9
The SX6 Coalition Strategic Plan has a goal to ensure all children receive early and regular developmental screenings and immunizations, and are linked to accessible, coordinated, integrated, and responsive basic needs, physical, dental, and mental health services, including services for children with developmental delays.
A key to effort in service to this goal has been the launch and growth of Family Connects with Austin Public Health:
Parenthood is a team sport, and every family needs support when they bring home a new baby. The first few weeks of life present an opportunity to start building a solid foundation of health for that child and their caregivers, and the Success By 6 Coalition’s strategic plan recognizes that a program like Family Connects can be instrumental in providing the scaffolding kids and families need to thrive.
Family Connects is changing the postpartum care that new families receive and is creating a positive, supportive culture in Austin that values families of young children and lets them know the community cares about their well-being.In a recent US News & World Report article, Ken Dodge, one of the program developers, was quoted as saying, “Our families, at birth of a child, are really on their own to navigate the early childhood period. We don't support our families very well during that period (and) as a result, our young children have all kinds of challenges entering kindergarten – in health, education and well-being... this is an attempt to fill that void.
"The Family Connects nursing team at Austin Public Health has spent the last year visiting families in the hospital, in their homes, providing supportive guidance on infant care, and connecting individuals to supportive resources in our community. To date, the nurses have checked the weight of over 800 babies, screened moms for symptoms of perinatal mood disorders, and created smoother processes for families to access helpful services through the city’s neighborhood centers.
“Our team has been able to support families and ensure babies get the healthy start they deserve,” says Hope Hunt, the Nurse Supervisor for the program at Austin Public Health. “Sometimes it’s as simple as answering a parent’s questions about their baby, but other times it means coordinating with pediatricians about a specific health concern.
”The program is available to all families and helps to address both immediate problems and those minor issues that could spiral over time. Research has shown that families that participate in the program have more connections to resources, moms report fewer symptoms of anxiety, and communities see a decrease in the number of needed child abuse investigations.
The simple goal of the program is right in the name: the nurse connects with the family, the family connects to supportive resources, and the caregivers connect with their new baby, giving it the healthy foundation every baby needs to thrive.
Currently, the program is available to all Austin or Travis County residents that deliver their baby at St. David’s South Austin Medical Center. In order to accomplish our community-wide goal of increasing the number of children and families that are screened and connected to supportive resources, the teams at United Way for Greater Austin and Austin Public Health have been working hard to establish a strong sustainability and scaling plan for Family Connects.
With nearly 1,000 home visits completed, the program is still building and expansion into another hospital is on the horizon. The goal is that within 10 years all 14,000+ babies born in Travis County will have access to a nurse home visit through Family Connects and the healthiest possible start in life!