October 23, 2020 2020 Family Support Needs Assessment On October 22, the Pennsylvania Office of Child Development and Early Learning (OCDEL) released a new Family Support Needs Assessment that covers the needs and challenges experienced by families with young children and opportunities to address these needs and better serve families. Overview Developed in partnership with PolicyLab at Children’s Hospital of Philadelphia, the assessment found that substance abuse, intimate partner violence, and mental health challenges are among the most pronounced issues facing young families across urban and rural communities. The assessment also shows an overall improvement in maternal and child health outcomes across many of Pennsylvania’s 67 counties since the last statewide needs assessment in 2014. Assessment Findings Informed by community surveys, interviews, and statewide data sets, the 2018-2020 Family Support Needs Assessment categorizes Pennsylvania’s counties as having “elevated need,” “moderate need,” and “low need,” across six domains: maternal and child health; socioeconomic status; substance abuse; child safety and maltreatment; community environment; and child care. Overall, the findings show that 44 counties have elevated need in at least one of the domains and 15 counties across the state met elevated need thresholds in three or more domains. Importantly, the data collection occurred prior to the arrival of COVID-19 in Pennsylvania, and the researchers anticipate that the pandemic will exacerbate many areas of community need. Despite the elevated need recorded in the report, maternal and child health outcomes have dramatically improved across much of the state since the 2014 federally-mandated statewide needs assessment. For example: nearly every county (63) saw improved rates of preterm birth and teen birth; 60 percent of counties saw improvements in infant mortality rates; half of the counties saw a reduction in the percentage of children under age five living in poverty; and more than half of the 2,220 individuals surveyed for the needs assessment have a favorable view of the availability and quality of health and social services in Pennsylvania for families with young children. The assessment also includes a review of the capacity and scope of the state’s home visiting programs, which provide voluntary, in-home services to under-resourced pregnant moms and families of young children. Pennsylvania significantly increased its investment in evidence-based home visiting over the last four years so that today, six evidence-based home visiting models serve a total of 10,150 families. More Information For more information, read the full press release and review the 2020 Family Supports Need Assessment Report.