Project Spotlight: Montana Family Home Visiting Program Needs Assessment

photo taken from behind of kids looking out window.

February 26, 2020

The Rural Institute was recently awarded a one-year state contract to assess the Montana Healthy Families (MHF) Home Visiting Program which supports voluntary home visiting services for at-risk pregnant women and parents with young children.

The MHF Home Visiting Program builds on decades of research showing that home visits by a nurse, social worker, early childhood educator, or other trained professional during pregnancy and in the first years of a child's life improve the lives of children and families by:

  • helping to prevent child abuse and neglect
  • supporting positive parenting
  • improving maternal and child health
  • promoting child development and school readiness

The Rural Institute is working with Montana's Department of Health and Human Services to conduct a mandated needs assessment for the MHF Home Visiting Program.  The needs assessment will work to identify Montana communities that could benefit the most from Home Visiting programs. Further, it will assess the capacity of the Home Visiting workforce, evaluate the state's capacity to provide substance abuse treatment and mental health services to individuals and families who need them, and identify opportunities to strengthen and expand services for at-risk families.

"This project provides an opportunity to identify unmet health needs by working with important partners at the state-level and by including the voices of public health staff, healthcare providers, mothers, and families in communities across the state," says Project Director Dr. Kaitlin Fertaly. "The comprehensive review will help set the priorities for public health programs that focus on women, mothers, and families."