PREVENTION

Family Connects Durham

Family Connects Durham (formerly Durham Connects) is a community-wide nurse home visiting program for all parents of newborns, regardless of income or socioeconomic status. Our mission is to increase child well-being by bridging the gap between parent needs and community resources. Registered nurses support all families in Durham County, North Carolina by providing no-cost postpartum home visits.

Sign Up for A Home Visit

Family Connects Durham offers a free nurse home visit to families of newborns in Durham County, North Carolina. Schedule your visit today!

Sign Up

For Families

Congratulations on the arrival of your child! We believe that every family needs support after bringing home a baby. The needs are different in each family – from help with feeding and safe sleep to getting information about child care and parenting groups. Family Connects Durham (formerly Durham Connects) supports parents like you by offering a free home visit by a registered nurse. The nurse will provide a child health check, answer your questions, and link you with community resources to connect your child to a healthy future.

When will my nurse home visit happen?

The visit is typically scheduled for around 3 weeks postpartum. However, visits may be scheduled for up to 12 weeks postpartum at a time convenient for the parent. Exceptions are made for babies who have been hospitalized and discharged at a later date.

What happens during a visit?

Family Connects Durham support takes many forms. Our registered nurses always provide a weight and health check for baby and make sure the mother is recovering well after childbirth. Depending on the family’s interests and needs, nurses offer help with breastfeeding, child care resources, recommending financial resources, locating parenting classes, identifying and coping with postpartum depression, dealing with social isolation or new family dynamics, and many other issues. Family Connects Durham nurses are experts in supporting families of newborns with resources right here in our community.

Family Connects Durham brings together families, community agencies, and healthcare providers to give babies the best environment for growth. Family Connects Durham nurtures this growth by visiting parents and babies in their own homes and connecting them with community supports.

What happens after my visit?

A Family Connects Durham support staff may contact you by phone one month after your home visit. The purpose of the call is to get your feedback about your home visit and to ensure you received any community resources that you and your visiting nurse discussed.

Is there any cost for a nurse home visit?

No. There is no charge to families.

I have a pediatrician/family doctor. Why do I need a nurse home visit?

Participation in Family Connects Durham is recommended by area pediatricians, obstetricians, and family practitioners. Family Connects Durham has partnered with these physicians to ensure a smooth transition for newborns and their parents. Family Connects Durham does not replace a pediatric visit, but is an additional chance to spend one-on-one time with a health care professional in the comfort of your own home. Your doctor relies on the information gathered by Family Connects Durham nurses to enhance your care.

Why is the program for all families with newborns? Shouldn’t we focus on high-need families instead?

Every family with a newborn has needs, and focusing on demographic risks does not reach all families who can benefit from parent support. Our program data show that 94 percent of parents who have received a nurse home visit needed support in at least one area after the birth of their child. Studies of Family Connects show improved outcomes in child health and well-being in all types of families, and, when families are in need of longer-term assistance, a nurse home visit is a great way to ensure they are connected to resources that will make a difference.

What credentials and experience do Family Connects Durham nurses have?

All Family Connects Durham nurses are Registered Nurses (RN) with several years clinical and/or community health experience.

Will my nurse speak Spanish or another language other than English?

Several Family Connects Durham nurses speak Spanish. An effort will be made to match families with a nurse who speaks the parents’ preferred language. When this is not possible, we can conduct the visit if there is someone in the home who is able to interpret.

How did you get my contact and birth information?

Family Connects Durham is considered an extension of your health care by area hospitals and medical providers. Birth and contact information is available from hospital birth records. A Family Connects Durham representative will meet with you in the hospital shortly after birth to answer questions, obtain updated contact information, and schedule your first visit. You may also contact us through this website. In addition, if we do not make contact in the hospital, our staff will try to reach you by telephone to discuss and schedule a home visit.

I am not a resident of Durham County, North Carolina. Am I eligible for a nurse home visit?

Family Connects Durham is currently only available to Durham County, North Carolina residents. To find other locations where the program model is available, please visit Family Connects International.

I am a Durham County resident but my baby was born elsewhere. Am I eligible for a nurse home visit?

You are eligible for a nurse home visit but will need to contact us to sign up, either by phone at 919-385-0777 or online.

Does my U.S. residency status affect my eligibility for a nurse home visit?

No. Family Connects Durham nurses do not ask, nor report U.S. residency status.

For Providers

The Family Connects model is an evidence-based, universal approach to supporting newborns and their families that is based on the highly-successful Family Connects Durham program (formerly Durham Connects). The goals are to connect with each parent after the birth of the child, offer supportive guidance to families, link families to needed community resources, and help parents connect with their child. Registered nurses offer between one and three home visits and ensure families are connected back to their medical home for continued care.

How do I refer a family for a nurse home visit?

To refer patients or clients to Family Connects Durham, you can direct them to the Nurse Home Visit Sign-Up Form or assist them in completing the form during an appointment with you.

What is the evidence to show the program works?

The program has been studied in two rigorous randomized controlled trials, the results of which have been published in highly-regarded journals including Pediatrics and the American Journal of Public Health.

Observations by researchers found that by the time a baby was six months old, when compared with those who did not receive a Durham Connects visit, families participating in Durham Connects had:

  • Greater community connections
  • Better utilization of higher quality child care
  • Higher-quality parenting behaviors
  • Enhanced home environments
  • Improved mother mental health
  • Reduced emergency medical care for infants
Return on Investment

For each $1 in program costs, the Durham Connects program yielded $3.02 in savings in emergency health care costs.

Based on the findings, researchers estimate that for cities of a similar size averaging about 3,187 births a year, an annual investment of $2.2 million in nurse home visiting would result in a community health care cost savings of about $7 million in the first two years of a child’s life.

How and when did the program begin?

The seeds of Family Connects Durham date back to 2001 when representatives of The Duke Endowment approached Kenneth Dodge, the founding director of the Duke Center for Child and Family Policy. They challenged Dodge to improved child outcomes in Durham and, more specifically, to reduce and prevent child abuse and neglect.

A host of community partners decided the best way to prevent child maltreatment and help children in Durham get a good start would be to support all families – regardless of socioeconomic status – from the very beginning. Durham Connects (now Family Connects Durham) was piloted in 2008 as a universal home visiting program with the goal of creating a replicable model that could be used in other communities.

How do I implement the Family Connects model in my community?

The Family Connects model is an evidence-based, universal approach to supporting newborns and their families that is based on the highly successful Durham Connects (now Family Connects Durham) program. Contact Family Connects International to learn how to implement the model in your area.

Family Connects Durham is a program of The Center for Child & Family Health, in partnership with the Duke Center for Child and Family Policy, Durham County Department of Public Health, and Durham County Department of Social Services. It is funded by The Duke Endowment, Durham County Government, United Way of the Greater Triangle, as well as other local grants and partnerships. Providing in-home nurse visits to every parent in Durham County is a large endeavor, and many groups have contributed to its launch and success. The Community Advisory Board, which consists of local partner agencies, meets quarterly to provide guidance, strengthen community collaboration, and share community updates.

Contact Us

Bilingual Program Support Specialist: Venessa Baez
(919) 385-0777

For inquiries about how to implement the Family Connects model in your community, contact Family Connects International.
For general inquiries about Family Connects Durham, please complete the form below.

Family Connects Durham Contact Us

Staff

Family Connects Durham employs highly qualified and specially trained registered nurses to perform postpartum home visits. We also have a wonderful support team to schedule visits, give special support, conduct follow up phone calls, maintain our records, and manage the office.

Paula Wright, RN, BSN, IBCLC Director of Clinical Services
Debra Best, MD, FAAP Medical Director
Karen Halpin, RN, BSN, IBCLC Nurse Home Visitor
Ruby Mendoza, RN, BSN, BA Nurse Home Visitor, Bilingual English/Spanish
Debbie Overstreet, RN Nurse Home Visitor, Bilingual English/Spanish
Gina Rose, RN, BSN, IBCLC Nurse Home Visitor
Margot Stern, RN, BSN Nurse Home Visitor
Lyn Steuart, RN, BSN Lead Nurse, Nurse Home Visitor
Emily Wright, MSN, CNM Nurse Home Visitor, Nurse Training Specialist
Venessa Diaz Program Support Specialist, Bilingual English/Spanish
Krysta Gougler-Reeves Community Resource Specialist
Heather Trimarchi Program Support Specialist
Ben Goodman, PhD Director of Program Evaluation
Karen Pope, BS Data Analyst

News

Follow Family Connects Durham on social media and read news about the program: