Minding the Baby® home visiting intervention receives federal designation

Minding the Baby® (MTB), a community-based home visiting intervention developed at Yale for young families in New Haven, recently received a federal designation by Home Visiting Evidence Effectiveness (HomVEE) review as an “evidence-based early childhood home visiting service delivery model.” Only 17 programs nationwide share this distinction.

The criteria for this designation were established by the U.S. Department of Health and Human Services (DHHS). This designation makes the MTB model eligible for implementation via state funds through the Maternal, Infant, and Early Childhood Home Visiting (MIECHV) Program, established through the Patient Protection and Affordable Care Act.

MTB clinicians have been working with young mothers and their babies in New Haven since 2002. The program’s core aims are to enhance opportunities for families to flourish and thrive by strengthening attachments and preventing potential obstacles to young children’s health and development. The interdisciplinary program collaborates with the Fair Haven Community Health Center and the Cornell Scott Hill Health Center to follow young mothers, between the ages of 14 and 25, from their third trimester of pregnancy through the child’s second birthday. The MTB home visiting team includes a pediatric nurse practitioner and a licensed clinical social worker for each family. The teams assess, coach, and educate parents about the skills and strategies that can lead to positive physical, social, and mental health outcomes for families.

“This news comes at a pivotal time for the intervention, for which efficacy data have been collected through a federally funded randomized clinical trial (RCT) for more than five years,” said one of the MTB co-directors Dr. Linda Mayes, the Arnold Gesell Professor of Child Psychiatry, Pediatrics & Psychology; interim director of the Child Study Center; and special advisor to the Dean of Yale School of Medicine. “Initial findings demonstrate significant positive impacts in health and relationship outcomes in young parents and their infants and young children living in resource-constrained urban neighborhoods.”

The MTB team recently completed work with consultants in business and social marketing on communications strategies and business planning, thanks to an 18-month grant from the Donaghue Foundation focused on helping research programs move to a service focus and delivery model. The goal of the award was to help build a sustainable and replicable version of the MTB program to be implemented at the local and state level, and to develop resources for training and consultation in the MTB model.  

MTB is led by faculty at the Yale Child Study Center and Yale School of Nursing. Co-Directors Lois Sadler, Arietta Slade, Nancy Close, and Mayes, are eager for the model to have a wider impact in Connecticut and beyond, providing lasting benefits to multiple generations of families nationwide.

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