Texas Family Connects Has First Home Visit In Austin, Travis County

AUSTIN, Texas – Every family needs support following the birth of a child. The United Way forGreater Austin is pleased to announce the launch of the Texas Family Connects Nurse Home Visiting Program. Texas Family Connects will benefit all families, including those that are frequently overlooked or underserved through current outreach methods – families who may not have been connected to services otherwise.


WHO: United Way for Greater Austin and Texas Family Connects – Travis County


WHAT: Announcement of first home visit with the Texas Family Connects nurse home visiting program in Austin/Travis County. Texas Family Connects is a voluntary, evidence-based Travis County community-wide nurse home visiting and referral program is for every family with a newborn. It is specifically designed to decrease instances of maltreatment by screening for risk and providing access to intervention early in a child’s life. The initiative has launched with all families giving birth at the St. David’s South Austin Medical Center with plans to expand to serve every family with a new baby in Travis County.


WHEN: September 4, 2018


WHERE: St. David’s South Austin Medical Center, 901 W Ben White Blvd, Austin, TX 78704


WHY: Texas Family Connects – Travis County is officially up in running, with a plan to give babies the best possible start in life.


This program is a partnership between United Way for Greater Austin and Austin Public Health. The City of Austin’s Public Health Department to offer every family with a newborn in our county at least one home visit from a Registered Nurse. These trained nurses assess each family’s unique strengths and needs.


 During the visit, the nurse may provide immediate assistance with health or parenting questions and will also connect the family with more long-term community services such as: health care appointments, child care services, parenting support groups, and financial and social supports that promote family functioning and child-wellbeing.  


 “We are very excited about the potential for this program to help create a culture in Austin that supports and values all families and children from day one. All babies deserve the healthiest possible start, and United Way and Austin Public Health are working to ensure that is a reality here in Travis County,” United Way for Greater Austin Director of Family Connects and MIECHV, Shalyn Bravens, said.


The program kicked off with a launch event at Austin’s Central Library on Monday, August 27, in conjunction with United Way for Greater Austin’s 2018 Annual Meeting. The event was attended by community influencers, organizers and dignitaries and helped spotlight the fully staffed nursing team taking on this initiative. The very first nurse home visit occurred on Tuesday, September fourth, and the program is now underway offering nurse home visiting all Austin/Travis County residents delivering at St. David’s South Austin Medical Center.


“We are so excited to have kicked-off the Family Connects Travis County program with offering our first home visit in Austin. Our nurses are so excited to be serving our community and eager to have full home-visiting schedules in the near future,” Hope Hunt, the Nurse Supervisor for Austin Public Health who is overseeing the Nurse Home Visiting team in Travis County said.


The future of the program is to serve all Austin/Travis County residents delivering babies in Travis County. All families in Travis County will be offered:


  • An in-home visit from a trained nurse who will assess the family for its unique strengths and needs
  • Immediate support for appropriate concerns (i.e. lactation support, etc.)
  • Connection to community services and resources



Evidence-Based Research indicates that participation in this program leads to greater community connections for families, higher-quality parenting behaviors, enhanced home environments, improved maternal health and reductions in health care expenses. Based on the results of the Family Connects 18-month randomized control trial, participation in the nurse home-visiting and referral program leads to:


  • Enhanced home environments: 39 percent fewer Child Protective Services investigations at five years
  • Improved long-term health outcomes: Every $1 invested in high-quality nurse home visiting leads to $3 in health care cost savings
  • Greater community connections: 15 percent more connections to community resources
  • Improved mother mental health: 28 percent less likely to report symptoms of anxiety
  • Reduced emergency medical care for infants: 34 percent less infant emergency medical care at 6 months of age and 50 percent less infant emergency medical care at 12 months of age
  • Higher quality parenting behaviors: self-reported and observer-rated


Six months after families participated in Family Connects research1 found:

  • 15 percent more connections to community resources
  • 28 percent less likely to report symptoms of maternal anxiety
  • 34 percent less infant emergency medical care


Through Community Investment Grant funding, United Way currently invests in home-visiting and parent support programs in our community and Texas Family Connects is projected to greatly increase the number of families served.


There are more than 16,000 babies born in Travis County each year. Research suggests that 95 percent of those families had health needs within the first few weeks of being home. The postpartum time is a delicate period for a new family, and moms and dads need more support than the current health system offers.


A growing body of research, supported by the Adverse Childhood Experiences (ACEs) study, documents how childhood adversity can lead to diseases, such as cancer and heart disease, and social problems, including homelessness and domestic violence, later in life.


View photos from the launch event.

Have questions? Email Madyson Russell at



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