Health agencies in Allegheny County want more families to take advantage of free home visit programs.
The “Open Doors to Home Visiting” campaign was launched this week by the Allegheny County Health Department and Department of Human Services.
There are currently 36 home visit programs in the county for expectant and new mothers. Health Department Director Karen Hacker said home visit programs have been proven to work.
“In terms of birth outcomes and things like that, if you get in there before the woman actually has the baby, we want to make sure they’re in appropriate prenatal care," Hacker said. "That they’re not experiencing pre- or postpartum depression, if they have problems with drugs or alcohol that they’re referred correctly. So there’s the whole health implications.”
Hacker said the most challenging part is knowing which program to use or refer people to. The phone service Allegheny Link expanded last year to centralize programs, as well as help families, doctors and social workers navigate options.
In its first year, the service referred approximately 700 families.