Implementing paraprofessional strength-based early intervention home visitations
Mykota, David Brian
The purpose of the present study is to evaluate the implementation process for Parenting Plus, the early intervention program of the Pipestone Health District. Parenting Plus, as modeled after Hawaii Healthy Start, provides strength-based paraprofessional home visitations to overburdened parents of newborns. The goal of the program is to strengthen families through the personal development of young parents that includes their ability to use community-based resources to affect positive parenting outcomes. A utilization-focused evaluation involving stakeholders that followed an implementation framework was designed. In so doing, the objectives of the study were threefold. The first goal was to understand the model of service delivery that has emerged and been operationalized for Parenting Plus. The second aim was to explore the characteristics of the implementation process that have facilitated or hindered the development of Parenting Plus. The third intention was to gain insight into what the parent's experience and understand about the paraprofessional home visitations they receive from Parenting Plus. A mixed methods approach to program evaluation was used that incorporated the general inductive approach. The quantitative methods for data collection included a document review and parent completion of the Family-Centered Program Rating Scale (FamPRS). The qualitative methods for data collection included semi-structured depth interviews and focus groups. The general inductive approach to data analysis resulted in five major dimensions that support a model for understanding the implementation and operationalization of paraprofessional strength-based home visitations. Recommendations for policy and practice address the need for intersectoral involvement as being crucial to a strength-based pilot project's success. In addition, more time needs to be allocated, prior to program implementation, for partnership building with stakeholders and the public. Thus, public education and awareness surrounding the program model's feasibility and applicability would aid in alleviating misconceptions and misunderstandings, build partnerships, and facilitate program implementation among stakeholders. Future research needs to not only look at the mode of service delivery but, more importantly, at how the characteristics of the home visitor can effect change in the participant and what level of experience or education in the paraprofessional is best suited to a client population.