Panel Paper: The Mother and Infant Home Visiting Program Evaluation: Learning From Variations in Program Design and Implementation to Strengthen Future Programs

Saturday, November 9, 2013 : 2:05 PM
3015 Madison (Washington Marriott)

*Names in bold indicate Presenter

Jill Filene1, Virginia Knox2, Anne Duggan3 and Charles Michalopoulos2, (1)James Bell Associates, (2)MDRC, (3)Johns Hopkins University
MIHOPE is a national evaluation of the Maternal, Infant, and Early Childhood Home Visiting (MIECHV) program, authorized in the Affordable Care Act (ACA) and funded by the U.S. Department of Health and Human Services.  MIECHV provides federal funds to states to operate home visiting programs that have qualified as evidence-based under a federal evidence review process.  While the program models are all evidence-based, past studies have found inconsistent impact evidence, and there is much left to learn about how to target these programs to those who will benefit most and most effectively serve the participating families.  Thus, the evaluation is designed to provide critical information for policymakers and practitioners about how to strengthen home visiting policy and programs in the future. 

MIHOPE is using a random assignment research design to examine the impacts of home visiting programs across a broad range of domains, including maternal and child health; parenting; family self-sufficiency; and referral and coordination with other service providers.  It also includes a multi-level implementation study that is designed to assess in detail the strategies that local programs use to affect each outcome domain.  The study will include approximately 12 states and 85 local implementing agencies. With 85 small study sites rather than a few large sites, the study is specifically designed to merge the implementation and impact studies to “get inside the black box.” The analyses will link the impacts in each of the 85 study sites to the program features and implementation strategies used in each site, to provide new, rigorous evidence about which specific program elements and implementation strategies are associated with the largest impacts for families and children. 

Finally, the study will provide information to the growing field of implementation science about the features of program models; characteristics of implementing organizations, communities, program staff, and participating families; and supports for program implementation that are most critical to successfully scaling up evidence-based programs. The presentation will discuss how the study is designed to inform future policy and practice, as well as how its approaches and findings will advance the knowledge base in implementation science more generally.