Program Areas | Families and Communities

Children’s Services Council of Palm Beach County: Project Evaluation

Metis began to work in 2012 with the Children's Services Council (CSC) of Palm Beach County, Florida, and is conducting two studies focused on one of its key initiatives, the Healthy Beginnings System of Care. CSC is an independent special district that provides leadership, funding, and research dedicated to supporting the health, safety, and well-being of the county's most vulnerable children and families.

The Healthy Beginnings System offers comprehensive, integrated services to pregnant women, infants, and young children by connecting them to programs throughout the county. These programs, many of which are evidence-based home-visitation models, aim to increase the number of healthy births, reduce child abuse and neglect, and ensure that young children are healthy and prepared for school.

In November 2012, Metis began a four-year rigorous evaluation of three home visitation programs offered through the Healthy Beginnings System: the Nurse-Family Partnership, Healthy Families Florida, and Healthy Beginnings Nurses. In retaining Metis to conduct this work, the CSC is hoping to gain a clear understanding of the impacts of these programs and leverage the findings to make data-driven programming decisions.

In the first two years of the evaluation, Metis conducted a quasi-experimental comparison-group study to examine the effectiveness of each of the programs and to examine their implementation with respect to “system of care” quality and effectiveness. In the next phases of the study, Metis will conduct:

  • an impact and fidelity study of the Healthy Beginnings Nurses Prenatal Plus program model and
  • an investigation of the programs' return on investment.

In fall 2013, the CSC selected Metis to conduct a second study of the Healthy Beginnings System, looking specifically at client engagement and attrition. This study involved a large-scale survey of individuals who had dropped off at various points in the system of care, in an effort to home in on the factors that prevent eligible families from participating. The CSC plans to use the results of the study to refine its approach to engaging and retaining clients in the Healthy Beginnings System so that a greater number of at-risk families in Palm Beach County can benefit from these services.