First Lady Chirlane McCray Announces Largest Citywide Home Visiting Services Program

February 5, 2020

First Lady Chirlane McCray announced today’s New Family Home Visits, a program that will offer home visiting services to all first-time parents from Harlem to Hollis. Families will be matched with services that best fit their needs and offered up to six home visits. They will also be provided with comprehensive health education and connection to resources which will include mental health screenings for anxiety and depression, infant feeding, infant safe sleep and referrals to services such as WIC and SNAP. The program will be the largest city home visiting program in the nation.

The city will invest $43M a year by 2024 and beyond, aiming to reach 45,000 families across the city when fully implemented. The program will launch this spring in Brooklyn and will reach all Brooklyn families with their first baby by 2021. The program will build upon investments in social-emotional learning to build resilience and coping skills in young children as well as baby showers for healthy emotional development.

“All parents in our city should have the support they need at the start of their most important journey, and we are taking an exciting new step to make that happen,” said First Lady Chirlane McCray. “Home visits are proven to strengthen bonds between parents and their babies, lower the risk for maternal anxiety and depression, and support healthy brain development during a crucial time. We have made it our mission to support New York City’s working families, and we are grateful to our coalition of partners who will help us get this done.”

New York City is leading the way for the nation with our New Family Home Visits program to address the needs of first-time parents and their babies at a critical time in their development,” said Deputy Mayor for Health and Human Services Dr. Raul Perea-Henze. “This initiative will ensure all families in our city can receive unprecedented supports as they prepare for and begin parenting their first child. I am thrilled that the de Blasio administration is making this historic investment, and I thank First Lady Chirlane McCray for her leadership in bringing together the Department of Health and Mental Hygiene and the Administration for Children’s Services to transform the lives of new parents and young children.”

“New Family Home Visits will benefit parents and babies across New York City,” said Health Commissioner Dr. Oxiris Barbot. “As a pediatrician and the City’s doctor, I know this program will offer services to parents that will help them to develop strong emotional bonds with their children, as well as provide their babies with the support to flourish and live healthy lives.”

“As a former official in the Obama Administration, I had the great honor to help implement provisions of the Affordable Care Act that expanded home visiting programs on a national level. I am honored to be part of the New Family Home Visits initiative, which will put New York City at the forefront by making home visiting universal,” saidAdministration for Children’s Services Commissioner David A. Hansell. “We are delighted to partner with DOHMH to improve the well-being of the youngest New Yorkers, and to carry out First Lady Chirlane McCray and Mayor de Blasio’s commitment to promoting healthy childhood development while providing wraparound support to families.”

Services will include:

1. Development of a New Evidence-Based Home Visiting Model and an Expansion of Evidence-Based Home Visiting Programs: Healthcare providers will use a standardized, comprehensive screening to identify families’ strengths and needs, including mental health. The City’s new evidence-based home visiting model will provide families with up to six home visits, a telephone follow up, and based on need, a subset of families will receive doula support. Home visits begin prenatally and continue up to 2 months of age. Community-based organizations will also provide families with home visiting services.

2. Create a Citywide Referral System to Match Families with Home Visiting Programs That Best Fit Their Needs and Increase the Number of Families Receiving Home Visits: This system will better match families to evidence-based programs. This program will enable the Department of Health and Mental Hygiene and partners to better monitor and improve outcomes.

3. Leverage a Public-Private Partnership to Develop Existing Programs into New, Evidence-Based Models: The home visiting programs will include 7 models that are all evidence-based or evidence-generating. These home visiting programs begin prenatally and continue up to 2 years of age.

This initiative builds on ThriveNYC’s success in improving mental health outcomes for New York City families, as well as the city’s investment in early childhood (Universal Pre-K and 3-K), existing home visiting programs (Nurse-Family Partnership, Newborn Home Visiting Program and By My Side Doula Services) and healthcare systems (NYC Care, Friendly Hospitals and Centering Pregnancy). Based on the evidence of home visiting programs, the City anticipates a plus-20% increase in cognitive development at age 2 for families served and overall reductions in health care use and public assistance and an increase in labor earnings. Furthermore, the Health Department expects a 29% reduction in pre-term births, a 28% reduction in hypertension, and a 39% increase in safe sleep practices.

“This program, and our partnership, represent the future of what healthcare should be: high-risk patients receiving health and social support services in a community provider setting that treats the person as a whole,” said Cheryl Hall, Executive Director of the Caribbean Women’s Health Association, an affiliate of Hudson River Health Care (HRHCare).

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