Service Coordination to Address Maternal Mental Health, Partner Violence, and Substance Use: Findings from a National Survey of Home Visiting Programs Link copied to clipboard

April 2021


Allison West, Anne Duggan, Kelsey Gruss, and Cynthia Minkovitz


Maternal risks such as poor mental health, partner violence, and substance misuse can undermine child health and development. Maternal and early childhood home visiting programs address these risks primarily through referral and coordination with community-based services, yet effects on these outcomes have been small. This study assessed the strengths of local home visiting sites’ systems to support coordination of mental health, partner violence, and substance use services. Investigators recruited home visiting sites (N=88) representing diverse models from a national practice-based research network, the Home Visiting Applied Research Collaborative (HARC). Web-based surveys assessed five implementation system supports for coordination and nine coordination activities drawn from the Measurement Framework for Coordination developed earlier in the project. Surveys also assessed seven coordination barriers identified in previous research. Sites varied in their implementation supports and coordination activities; on average, sites had stronger systems in place to support screening and referring families than to support linkage and follow-up. Implementation supports and activity scores were higher for mental health and partner violence than for substance use. Across all service needs, scores were highest for offering a referral and documenting the caregiver’s agreement for exchange of information between providers. Scores were lowest for offering a warm handoff. Lack of open slots and lack of transportation were major barriers to successful coordination for all three services. Results suggest that home visiting coordination could be strengthened by focusing on infrastructure for linkage and follow-up with services in the broader system of care.

Access Type: Open Access

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