Home Visitation Programs

Success Story: Ronna

Ronna smiles when asked how Every Child Succeeds has made a difference in her life. "I would have been completely lost without it!" she says, as her two-year-old son, Jayden, chases a bouncing rubber ball across the room. "When I got pregnant, I was only 15. I wanted to take responsibility for Jayden, and I wanted to be a good mother. But I had no idea how to go about it."

Every Child Succeeds matched Ronna with Jenny Berndsen, a home visitor employed by Family Services, which contracts with Every Child Succeeds to provide home visits. Jenny has been meeting with Ronna weekly since Ronna was eight months pregnant, sharing information with her about baby care, helping her create a positive home environment for learning and emotional growth, and encouraging her to finish high school.

"No one in my family was there for me, so I really felt alone at first," explains Ronna, who now lives with Jayden in an apartment. "Jenny has taught me about the importance of reading to Jayden and about which games are good for his development and even how to get Jayden evaluated for his speech delays. She has helped me become a good mother and be more confident in myself."

In June, Ronna will graduate from North College Hill High School, where she recently made honor roll. She plans to attend Cincinnati State and eventually become a social worker to help children who have experienced abuse and neglect.

Every Child Succeeds (ECS) is a voluntary prevention program that uses an evidence based home visitation strategy to promote positive parent-child interaction, healthy child development and family self sufficiency.  At the core of the approach is a caring, trusting relationship between a home visitor and a mom.

Every Child Succeeds operates two national models:  10 Healthy Families America® (HFA) sites and one Nurse Family Partnership ® (NFP) site. To date, Every Child Succeeds has provided more than 450,000 home visits and has served more than 19,000 families. At any one time, close to 2,000 families are receiving home visits. Each month, more than 160 referrals are made to ECS and 2,900 total visits are provided. Referrals come from community agencies (27%), hospitals (34%) and prenatal clinics (39%).

Families who participate in Every Child Succeeds receive a number of services to help maximize their children's development in the first three years of life. One to four times a month, a professional highly-trained home visitor comes to the mother's home to provide a number of services, including but not limited to:

  • Information regarding healthy prenatal care
  • Parenting support and guidance
  • Stimulating activities for baby
  • Tracking and support of baby's development
  • Health and nutrition education
  • Assessment of the home environment to ensure that it is safe and stimulating
  • Goal setting to help parents achieve self-sufficiency
  • Referrals to community resources when additional assistance is needed
  • Transition support for families at program graduation
  • Parent-aid bags which include educational and useful items, including books and developmental toys, health and safety items

Mothers also are invited to participate in group meetings, where they can meet other first-time parents and share the joys and challenges of parenting.

Key Program Components

Four key program components inform the Every Child Succeeds home visitation program. These include success priorities, home visit planning guide, strategic enhancements and continuous quality improvement.

Success Priorities are defined as the activities and outcomes considered to be essential for the child's development and family functioning. They bring focus to home visiting and guide home visitors in selecting what to work on with families when multiple needs exist. These success priorities also help home visitors measure successful completion of program goals at specified intervals throughout families' enrollment in the program. Examples of these priorities include healthy pregnancy and delivery and immunizations.

The Home Visit Planning Guide organizes multiple curricular resources with supplemental materials, while also integrating forms and inventory. The home visit planning guide allows home visitors to cover a comprehensive array of topics and share up-to-date, quality information with families.  The curriculum ensures that home visitation plans for each family are consistent from agency to agency and home visitor to home visitor.

This planning guide incorporates success priorities and other criteria for success. Information is organized into six domains, including Parental Health, Parenting, Child Development, Personal & Environmental Safety, Social Supports and Life Course Development.  The guide also identifies community resources that are equipped to support families in each of these agencies.

Our Continuous Quality Improvement program allows Every Child Succeeds to continually evaluate and improve service delivery to families. Tools and strategies include creating action plans that designate areas for improvement, identifying best practices and supporting agencies in their efforts to meet program standards. All of the agencies working with Every Child Succeeds participate in this effort.

 Home visitors collect data on program features, child development, caregiver functioning, family characteristics and community supports. Data collection begins at enrollment, and continues throughout a family's participation in Every Child Succeeds. Data are collected using a predetermined schedule, and stored on a web-based system. As part of the program's Continuous Quality Improvement effort, the measurement data are used to improve both performance and outcomes over time. Results are disseminated through frequent reports to the provider agencies, annual report cards, professional publications and regional and national conferences for external audiences.

 Strategic Enhancements have been developed by Every Child Succeeds to provide mothers with support and assistance that is not typically available through home visitiation and is difficult to obtain in the community.

  • The Maternal Depression Treatment Program (MDTP) provides In-Home Cognitive Behavior Therapy (IH-CBT) to clinically depressed mothers enrolled in Every Child Succeeds.  IH-CBT is an adapted form of cognitive behavior therapy that is specifically designed to meet the needs of depressed mothers in home visitation.  Provided by a trained therapist who provide treatment in the home, IH-CBT helps effectively treat depression, prevent relapse and maximize the impact of home visitation.  Preliminary evidence indicates that IH-CBT achieves success rates equivalent to clinical trials of antidepressant medications and cognitive behavior therapy.

Our Community Engagement efforts began in January 2007 in Avondale to increase enrollment in that high-risk community and reduce social isolation. Our efforts have since expanded in to the Lincoln Heights Corirdor, Corryville/Mt. Auburn, and Price Hill communities.

  • Other specialized programs have been developed by Every Child Succeeds to provide mothers with support and assistance that is not typically available through home visitation and is difficult to obtain in the community. They are designed to be permanent features of Every Child Succeeds and currently include the Medical Home Initiative, Bringing Literacy Home and ECS/Avondale Community Partnership..

*All services are free of charge

ECS Eligibility Requirements

To be eligible for the Every Child Succeeds program, women must:

  • Live in either Brown, Butler, Clermont or Hamilton counties in Ohio; or Boone, Campbell, Grant, or Kenton counties in Kentucky;
  • Be a first-time mother and either be pregnant or have a baby under three months of age at the time of enrollment;
  • And meet at least one of the following criteria: single mother, low income, received late or no prenatal care, under 18 years of age.

Referral Form

If you would like to refer someone to Every Child Succeeds, please download a referral form in portable document format (.pdf).

Send the completed materials by fax or by mail to:

Theresa Popelar
Every Child Succeeds
Cincinnati Children's Hospital Medical Center
3333 Burnet Ave., MLC 3005
Cincinnati, Ohio 45229-3039
Fax: 513-636-2460

If you have questions, please contact Theresa at Theresa.Popelar@cchmc.org or 513-636-0064.