Family Connects International is part of Duke University’s Center for Child and Family Policy.

We believe that every family has needs around the birth of a child. The needs are different in different families, but nobody is fully prepared for a baby. In communities where the program is available, Family Connects bridges the gap between parents and community resources, and has been shown to improve family well-being, including reducing emergency medical care for infants and improving parent behavior and child care selection.

The program provides between one and three nurse home visits to every family with a newborn beginning at about three weeks of age, regardless of income or demographic risk. Using a tested screening tool, the nurse measures newborn and maternal health and assesses strengths and needs to link the family to community resources.

In some cases, Family Connects® recommends eligible families enroll in long-term programs, such as Healthy Families AmericaEarly Head StartNurse Family Partnership and others. This makes Family Connects® an excellent gateway to more intensive family support services.

Learn more about the program background and our approach to dissemination.

The goals of Family Connects® are to:

  • Connect with every mother - along with the father and other family members - in their home after the birth of a newborn. The nurse home visits are designed to share in the joy of a new baby, assess unique family risks, and respond to immediate needs for support and guidance.

  • Offer supportive guidance to families in several factors, responding specifically to questions about newborn care.

  • Link families to community services based on their individual needs and preferences.

  • Help new parents connect with their infant, providing them with the confidence and support needed to sustain infant and parent health, child development and overall family well-being.

 

Family Connects® parents say:

“We loved our nurse, she was very friendly. She provided support, listened and gave suggestions. She was very knowledgeable and came with resources … and she was a phone call away. Family Connects is a wonderful program for anyone.”

“You are more comfortable [in your own home] and you feel like you can ask any sort of question, which is different than when you’re in a clinical setting.”

 

“Family Connects is such an important service to our community. Reaching out to new parents, especially first-time moms and their babies, is like providing a lifeline in some cases … to feel supported and “not alone” in the community.”