Every Child Succeeds (ECS) fulfills an important role in Greater Cincinnati, where only two other agencies provide home visits for families. These agencies serve a far smaller number of clients and, based on recent changes to Ohio’s Help Me Grow program, these efforts are now modeled after ECS. Nationally, Nurse Family Partnership (NFP) and Healthy Families America (HFA) are two other models of home visitation that communities can adopt. We have learned from these approaches and enhanced them significantly for our client population. For example, NFP services end at age 2 but ECS runs through a child’s third birthday, when a transition to preschool can be supported. Operationally, NFP and HFA require partner agencies to find their own funding, whereas ECS contracts with and fully funds partner agencies – one reason ECS is able to maintain the highest of standards and still achieve a low financial cost per visit.
In general, ECS is set apart and ensured long-term success by the following factors:
1. Collaborative partnerships with local organizations, businesses and a world-renowned children’s hospital. Partnering brings increased resources and expertise to ECS families, decreases direct costs and allows long-term funding stability.
2. Engagement of the business community in organizational leadership, program development and funding has resulted in a focused, corporate model of operations resulting in greater effectiveness, quality, validated outcomes and a strong ROI.
3. A dynamic mix of public and private funders. Public monies (50 percent) allow ECS to keep the core program strong while outcomes influence policy, and private funding (50 percent) allows for valuable enhancements to be added to the basic program. Such a mix of funders results in the commitment of various contributors to the goals of ECS as well, focusing the larger community on the need to solve a public health inequity.
4. An emphasis on scientific research contributes to the quality of ECS services by bringing federal dollars and cutting-edge strategies to families and furthers the greater knowledge of the home visitation and early childhood development fields.
5. A continuous quality improvement program allows ECS to determine what is working and where opportunities exist, and then to act to improve programs overall. Significant amounts of data are collected at every visit to guide service delivery and to track outcomes. ECS’s own innovative data management system – eECS – was built specifically (through the University of Cincinnati) to hold this wealth of data, and it can be accessed and utilized by home visitors from all partner agencies