In 2017, a number of high-profile child fatalities in Rhode Island signaled the need to improve early childhood interventions and child maltreatment prevention across the state. Rhode Island’s Department of Health (RIDOH) recognized the opportunity to engage more families facing adversity in First Connections, the state’s holistic short-term family home visiting program.
With support from the GPL, RIDOH restructured the First Connections contract to focus providers on serving families most in-need of help. As part of this, providers began to conduct more intensive outreach to connect families facing adversity to services, and project partners collaboratively designed and tested solutions to improve the rate of program uptake among these families.
Statewide, First Connections take-up rates for families with four or more factors indicating adversity have increased by 22 percent. This means that across the state, more families facing adversity are being successfully connected to home visiting services.