Providing services in the places families live: Evidence-Based and Evidence-Informed Home-Based Services award announcement

We are excited to announce our 11 Evidence-Based and Evidence-Informed Home-Based Services partners with a total investment of $2,760,000 over 2.5 years! We are thrilled to partner with the following community organizations:

Center for Human Services
Denise Louie Education Center
El Centro de la Raza
Friends of Youth
Kindering Center
Open Arms Perinatal Services
Renton Area Youth & Family Services
Somali Doulas Northwest
United Indians of All Tribes
Vashon Youth and Family Services
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The perfect day for a math party at El Centro de la Raza, one of our Evidence-Based and Evidence-Informed Home-Based Services partners.

What are Home-Based Services?

Home-based services are a type of relationship-based support provided to expectant parents, and parents of children birth to age five, in the places where they live. Home visiting programs range from healthy pregnancy and breastfeeding support, to screenings for developmental milestones and modeling parent-child interactions.

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Parents and children participate in fun math activities at El Centro de la Raza, who hosts frequent math parties through their Parent-Child Home Program.

Early positive interactions between parents and their children can have a great impact on success later in life. Home visiting has been shown to positively impact the health and well-being for babies and their caregivers through modeling parent-child interactions and fostering a positive learning environment in the place families feel most comfortable – their home. However, a one-size-fits-all approach is ineffective in the context of home visiting – different families need a range of home visiting services to best meet their needs.

Our Home-Based Services strategy

To support building a system that meets the needs of all families, Best Starts has invested in community partners who deliver home visiting programs across age groups, geography, diversity of communities, service intensity, and types of evidence. To do this, we offered two funding opportunities within Home-Based Services: Evidence-Based and Evidence-Informed Home-Based Services and Community-Designed Home-Based Services.

Within our Evidence-Based and Evidence-Informed programs, Best Starts is extending access to developmental screening. All home visiting partners will also have opportunities to participate in training toward endorsements in Infant and Early Childhood Mental Health.

Best Starts has also partnered to expand two evidence-based home visiting programs through separate funding opportunities: Parent-Child Home Program, which supports parents through educational play that helps develop children’s cognitive and social-emotional skills; and Nurse Family Partnership, an evidence-based home visiting program delivered by registered nurses through Public Health – Seattle & King County.

We also recently announced our 10 Community-Designed Home-Based Services partners who will receive a total investment of $5,825,000 over 2.5 years – the first significant public investment in community-designed home visiting programming in King County. Community-designed programs play an important role in responding to needs left unmet by evidence-based and evidence-informed programs, many of which are insufficiently studied in diverse populations. Within these programs, our partners are expanding the availability of Home-Based Services that draw upon local community knowledge and practice and that are designed for and valued by the communities they serve.

Collectively, evidence-based, evidence-informed, and community-designed Home-Based Services are vital to Best Starts’ vision of Investing Early, so that babies are born healthy and establish a strong foundation for lifelong health and well-being.

In the video below, Executive Dow Constantine describes home-based services and highlights Best Starts’ strategy for improving access to home visiting services for families in King County.

Sitting down with our partners

This summer, King County Executive Dow Constantine had the opportunity to thank our Home-Based Services partners and discuss the value of providing services in the places families live.

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Representatives from our Home-Based Services partners have an open discussion with Executive Constantine on measuring success and doing things differently in their home visiting programs.

Teaming up with the City of Seattle and United Way of King County to expand Parent-Child Home Program is just one example of how Best Starts is partnering to improve access to culturally relevant home visiting programs. Executive Constantine also sat down with representatives from Nurse-Family Partnership, Open Arms Perinatal Service, Somali Doulas Northwest, United Indians of All Tribes – just some of our other Home-Based Services partners.

Faisa Farole, Executive Director of Somali Doulas Northwest, noted that the flexibility provided by home visiting programs is essential to success. “Parent’s don’t seek resources because they’re scared,” Farole told Executive Constantine, “We’re giving mothers a space to be comfortable.”

The roundtable discussion, hosted by El Centro de la Raza, concluded with a Math Exploration Party where parents and kids could enjoy fun math-related games and activities in the courtyard. El Centro hosts regular Math Exploration Parties through their Parent-Child Home Program in collaboration with early learning non-profit, Zeno.

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Enjoying fun math-related games and activities at the El Centro Math Exploration Party that followed the roundtable discussion.

“How do you measure success?”

With such a wide array of services provided to families served by our Home-Based Services partners, Executive Constantine posed an important question: How do you measure success?

Success in home-based services varies from program-to-program, and even family-to-family. Parent-Child Home Program, for example, is a national program with over 10 years of evidence supporting its practices and established tools for measuring success.

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Executive Constantine tours the Open Arms Perinatal Services office with Open Arms’ Executive Director, Dila Perera (middle), and Birth Services Doula Manager, Kate Silvette (right.)

But for some, success means doing things differently. Rokea Jones, Open Arms’ Outreach Birth Doula for the African–American community, noted that children’s social and emotional health is often not considered until they reach school-age. Open Arms begins addressing social and emotional health even before birth by focusing on the well-being of the birthing person and promoting first relationships.

As Program Manager for United Indians of All Tribes, Katie Hess described their home visiting program for mothers with depression. Because depression outcomes are often difficult to measure, United Indians of All Tribes also examine staff and client retention to identify positive growth.

Whether evidence-based, evidence-informed, or community-designed, home visiting programs provide the flexibility needed to define success for each family on a case-by-case basis.

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