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    Journal Article

    Addressing Maternal Depression, Substance Use, and Intimate Partner Violence in Home Visiting: A Quasi-Experimental Pilot Test of a Screen-and-Refer Approach

    Prevention Science

    Published: November 2019


    This quasi-experimental pilot study describes preliminary impacts of the “Home Visitation Enhancing Linkages Project (HELP),” a pragmatic screen-and-refer approach for promoting identification of and linkage to treatment for maternal depression (MD), substance use (SU), and intimate partner violence (IPV) within early childhood home visiting. HELP includes screening for MD, SU, and IPV followed by a menu of motivational interviewing and case management interventions aimed at linking clients to treatment, designed for delivery within routine home visiting. HELP was piloted within four counties of a statewide home visiting system that were implementing Healthy Families America. HELP clients (N = 394) were compared to clients in five demographically matched counties that received usual Healthy Families services (N = 771) on whether their home visitors (1) identified MD, SU, and IPV risk; (2) discussed MD, SU, and IPV during home visits; and (3) made referrals for MD, SU, and IPV. All data were extracted from the program’s management information system. A significant impact of HELP was found on discussion of risk in home visits for all three risk domains with large effect sizes (MD OR = 4.08; SU OR = 15.94; IPV OR = 9.35). HELP had no impact on risk identification and minimal impact on referral. Findings provide preliminary support for HELP as a way of improving discussion of client behavioral health risks during home visits, an important first step toward better meeting these needs within home visiting. However, more intensive intervention is likely needed to impact risk identification and referral outcomes.

    Prev Sci. 2019 Nov. doi: 10.1007/s11121-019-01045-x.