University at Albany

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Healthy Families New York

Since 1995, CHSR has been working with the New York State Office of Children and Family Services (OCFS) to conduct a variety of studies of Healthy Families New York (HFNY), a multi-site program designed to prevent child abuse and neglect, increase parental self-sufficiency, and enhance child health and development.

Evaluation & Research

Randomized Controlled Trial: CHSR and the OCFS conducted a randomized controlled trial that began in 2000. Over 1,000 women were interviewed annually for 3 years. In 2006, additional funding was received from the National Institute of Justice and the Doris Duke Foundation to re-interview families at 7 years to test the long term effects of the program. In the study, expectant and new parents were assigned to either a treatment group (offered home visiting services) or a control group (received referral information only). The study compared these women and their children over time to assess program outcomes. In addition to survey data, an observational study was conducted that involved videotaping mothers and children to assess the program effects on parent-child interaction and child development. Noldus, a video-coding software program, is being utilized to analyze the observational data.

Fatherhood Initiative Study: Recent research findings emphasize the importance of fathers in improving the outcomes of children. In response, HFNY has increased its efforts to involve fathers. Given that the field of fatherhood research and policy is in its infancy, there is sparse information on empirically proven methods to foster father involvement and little documentation of the outcomes of fatherhood initiatives. In addition to analyzing data from the management information system, CHSR has interviewed fatherhood advocates about their work with families and participates in a variety of HFNY initiatives to promote responsible fatherhood.

Early Enrollment Pilot Study: Based upon the positive outcomes of HFNY for women who enrolled prenatally, the HFNY Central Administrative Team embarked on a pilot study to promote early enrollment. Five sites were selected to implement a new screening form, analyze their enrollment processes, and communicate with community agencies about the benefits of early enrollment. The study demonstrated varying degrees of success in implementation and outcomes for all the pilot sites. All sites increased the number of screens compared to the number at baseline, and most shortened the length of time from screen to enrollment. The new simple screen form was well received and was a factor for success. Additionally, individual feedback based on site-specific data on the enrollment process was key to motivating frontline workers and program leaders in improving practice. Building on the success of the early enrollment pilot, CHSR continues to work with HFNY sites to study their prenatal enrollment processes.

Contact: Dr. Sandra McGinnis