Growing What Works: Lessons Learned from Pennsylvania's Nurse-Family Partnership Initiative

by Laura E. Johnson; Jennifer Collins Stavrakos; Geri Summerville

Sep 1, 2009
In 2001, P/PV was asked to oversee the statewide replication of the Nurse-Family Partnership in Pennsylvania -- one of the largest and most successful expansions of this well regarded home-visiting program, which has been found to produce substantial and enduring improvements in the health and well-being of low-income first-time parents and their children. Our experience in Pennsylvania has shown that the replication of evidence-based models can be an enormous challenge, even for highly defined and effective programs like Nurse-Family Partnership. Replication across many sites simultaneously, and by a common funder, is labor-intensive and comes with expectations of outcomes similar to those achieved in research trials. As a result, ensuring fidelity to the established program model, while allowing for local innovation, is paramount to success. Using the Pennsylvania Nurse-Family Partnership experience as a case study, this report provides key lessons for policymakers and funders interested in bringing proven models to a statewide scale, including best practices for selecting implementing agencies; fostering a sense of community among geographically dispersed sites; monitoring program results to promote quality; and engaging local administrators and site leaders.
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