Taking a Stand for New Mexico’s Children: The CHI St. Joseph’s Home Visiting Program and its Impact in our Community

June 27, 2019 - Author Name

The first years of a child’s life are the most critical to their social-emotional and cognitive developments. Even under the best circumstances, parenting is a highly difficult and overwhelming task. Many parents face a number of obstacles that influence their ability to encourage their child’s healthy growth and development. It is important for parents to have support, education, training, and resources to help promote early childhood development during this critical time.

Acknowledging the gap in resources for first time parents, Catholic Health Initiatives St. Joseph’s Children (CHI SJC) established a home visiting program in the spring of 2010 that provides free home visiting services for all parents and their first born child, for the first three years of the child’s live, with the goal of educating and supporting parents to encourage and ensure the healthy growth and development of babies.

The CHI SJC Home Visiting program provides parents with the skills and resources to enhance the quality of their families’ lives by giving parents the ability to create environments that have a positive impact on their children’s growth. Trained home visitors meet with families on a regular basis and offer guidance on how to monitor their baby for healthy growth and development. CHI SJC believes that a healthy pregnancy and a healthy baby not only affect the success of individuals and their families, but also the long-term success of our communities.

CHI SJC is a faith-based, non-profit organization whose goal is to ensure that children reach kindergarten with the health and family capacity necessary to support learning. The CHI SJC program uses an evidence-based home-visiting model that focuses on family education, problem identification and referral, and coordination of community resources. CHI SJC is self-funded, its services are secular, and CHI SJC does not accept government funding. The program serves Bernalillo, Chaves, Cibola, Doña Ana, Luna, Sandoval, and Valencia counties.

Here at the Institute for Social Research (ISR) Center for Applied Research and Analysis (CARA) we are conducting a randomized control trial of the St. Joseph’s Home Visiting program. The purpose of this study is to determine the short-term and long-term impact and effectiveness of the home visiting program. This study involves a rigorous randomized control trial focused on eight outcome domains: child development and school readiness, family economic self-sufficiency, maternal health, child health, reductions in child maltreatment, linkages and referrals, positive parenting practices, and reductions in juvenile delinquency and crime. Our study consists of interviews, using assessment tools that have been used in studies of this type, and the review of administrative records. We will enroll 400 families in the study; recruitment for the study began in October 2016. We intend to follow these families until the children graduate from high school or turn 19 years of age.

You can learn more about the St. Joseph’s Home Visiting program and the services they offer by visiting their website at https://stjosephnm.org/