Innovations in Evidence-based Home Visiting Intended to Engage and Support Families Impacted by Opioid Use Disorder: Three Case Studies from Pennsylvania Pilot Programs
Pregnancy and early parenthood can be challenging transitional times for many families, especially those struggling with opioid use disorder (OUD). Over 8 million children live with a parent with SUD and parental drug use has been attributed to rising rates of family instability and child welfare involvement (Lipari & Van Horn, 2017; AFCARS, 2020;). Community-based prevention programming for families with young children, such as evidence-based maternal and child home visiting (EBHV), may we well positioned to engage and support families impacted by the opioid epidemic through early childhood. This paper presents case studies to highlight promising practices for adapting EBHV models to families impacted by SUD from the perspectives of staff and administrators. Data from three pilot sites are presented as case studies. These sites were selected to represent the most innovative and developed adaptations to EBHV for families impacted by substance use from an implementation evaluation of state-funded pilot sites (N = 20) at existing home visiting agencies across Pennsylvania. Data reported here represent semi-structured interviews with 11 individuals. Data were coded to facilitators and barriers nodes to understand the process and impact of pilot implementation. Systems-level collaboration and coordination were key to serving a population already engaged in multiple systems. Engagement of substance use experts allowed home visitors to focus on delivery of evidence-based curricula supporting family stability and child development. External partnerships reduced stigma among home visitors. Across sites, staff struggled with the increased acuity of social complexity of the OUD population. Pregnancy and early parenthood are challenging transitional times for many families, especially those with OUD. Evaluation results demonstrate the promise of systems-based adaptations to community-based prevention programming for families with young children, such as maternal and child home visiting, to better support families impacted by SUD.