Family Spirit Home Visiting Program

Theme(s):
Early Childhood Development, Entrepreneurship & Workforce Development, Maternal & Child Health

Family Spirit is a unique, evidence-based home-visiting model with a reputation for success: dependability with flexibility.

Family Spirit addresses intergenerational behavioral health problems, applies local cultural assets, and overcomes deficits in the professional healthcare workforce in low-resource communities. It is the only evidence-based home-visiting program ever designed for, by, and with American Indian families. It is used in over 79 tribal communities across 16 states, and it is also used in several other low-income urban environments in Chicago and St. Louis.  

While there has been a growth in the number of maternal, infant, and early childhood home-visiting programs in the US, the Family Spirit model goes above and beyond in several areas:

  • It leverages cultural assets and an indigenous understanding of health;
  • Encourages the use of paraprofessionals to deliver the program; and
  • Addresses behavioral health disparities, emerging globally as an urgent priority.

Family Spirit’s culturally-tailored intervention is delivered by community-based paraprofessionals as the core strategy to support young parents from pregnancy to 3 years post-partum. It is a behaviorally-focused intervention, responsive to parents’ and children’s needs.

Watch a video to learn about this program's impact for one family in Chinle, in the Navajo Nation.

We would like to express our appreciation to the many people who have contributed to the development of the Family Spirit Program. We are deeply grateful to our partnering Native communities including the Navajo Nation and White Mountain and San Carlos Apache Tribes. Their input, guidance, wisdom, and spirit were invaluable to the evolution of the program. We acknowledge our colleagues at Johns Hopkins University and partnering institutions who provided rigorous content and assessment of the program. Finally, and most importantly, we extend heartfelt thanks to the parents, children, and families who have participated in the Family Spirit Program and honor their commitment to strengthening their families and communities.

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