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The Power of Home Visits

"LSA Family Health Service, 'The Little Sisters,' a neighborhood-based nonprofit, delivers a holistic model of human services to the underserved, marginalized, and poorest families in East Harlem through home visits, on site services, support groups, classes and more, so they can achieve the wellness and strength they need to move forward." http://www.littlesistersfamily.org/

Photo of Bettina Fliegel
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Little Sisters of The Assumption, LSA, has been providing home based services to the community of East Harlem since 1958.  They are committed to social justice and empowerment for vulnerable and marginalized children and families living in poverty.  These families suffer from food insecurity, financial insecurity, illness, housing insecurity, low literacy.  Many are immigrants further isolated by the contraints of language.  Children in this community are at high risk for developmental delay.  The incidence of childhood asthma in this neighborhood is one of the highest in the USA.

LSA assists children and families via a holistic approach to human services. Their focus is on home based care which allows them to build trusting mutual relationships. Overtime families heal, are less isolated and become reslient. 





"We provide the interventions and care that vulnerable, at-risk families need over the short term. But we also look beyond their immediate needs and how they can achieve lasting stability and growth. We do that by building caring, respectful relationships and offering multiple services, which over time will boost their health, strength and resilience, so they can move forward and stay together."

Our model offers a special focus on:
Parenting and early childhood development and health
Nursing care for mothers, infants and young children
Family health issues, like asthma, diabetes, depression and abuse 
Advocacy for families needing assistance with housing, food, legal aid—or any short-term crisis."

The Power of Home Visits  
"By visiting families in their home for care, assessments or training, we're able to get a true sense of their lives and their needs, which allows us to approach them in a holistic way. Offering one form of support can't bring stability, well-being and strong relationships if there are hardships and crises on multiple fronts.

Each home visit allows us to not only get personal, but to identify what families need to thrive and move forward."


FACT:
The risk factors to the wellbeing of children in East Harlem ranked among the highest in NYC last year.


PROGRAMS  
1)  Advocacy with Food Pantry
2)  Early Intervention
3)  Family Support Preventive Services
4)  Education and Youth
4)  Environmental Health and Home Based Asthma Program
5)  Parenting and Childhood Development - A Home Based Program
6)  Home Nursing
7)  The Sharing Place Thrift Store

MEASURING SUCCESS
Goals are set, progress is tracked.  Year after year there is measurable improvement in outcomes.
LSA partners with respected institutions such as The Robinhood Foundation, The New York Academy of Medicne  and NYU.
They are grantees of The Robinhood Foundation and organization which uses metrics to assess and grant funds only to organizations that have proven that their programs have an impact on reducing poverty for their clients over the long term.

LSA is a stellar organizaition!
They are true partners in the care of children and families within their neighborhood. 


What can we learn from this model of integrating services in a low income community in New York City?

How can we apply the power of home visits to designs for programming in the developing world?

What is the role of consistency, relationship building, trust and mutual respect in providing services to parents as they rear their young children in low income communities in the developing world?
 


 

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Photo of Anne-Laure Fayard

Thanks Bettina for sharing and raising these important issues regarding the importance of trust, relationship and understanding the local context through informal interactions.
I'm wondering if we could think of using already existing groups to do some of this work in some of the communities. For example, I remember talking with my friends who worked with UNICEF on child soldier program and saying how they sent people from the community itself to go and visit the families who were hosting these children, and make sure that all was fine, and to see what were the needs ( see https://openideo.com/challenge/womens-safety/research/learning-from-an-expert-in-the-field ). I'm sure it's already done by several programs in the field.
You could also imagine training some of the community members (a bit like our bindi idea https://openideo.com/challenge/womens-safety/ideas/bindis-community-concierges-to-inform-connect-and-empower ) so that they become more engage in spreading the word and changing behaviors.
Thanks!

Photo of Bettina Fliegel

Yes using already existing groups is a good idea. Also I was thinking that depending on what the issue at hand is that groups could form from within communities. So if there are marginalized families, there might be a committee within the community that supports them in some way. I think there might be different needs to bolster families in general, so that they can parent well. Not all the needs might be specifically about behavioral change, or education around child development. Might just be a new mom that is overwhelmed with other kids who needs support etc.