The Future of Social Service Delivery: Balancing In-Person and Virtual Services 

Image
Virtual meeting
Year Published
2021
Author (Individual)
Osborne, C.
Gibson, M. 
Sanderson, M.
Author (Organization)
Child and Family Research Partnership , The University of Texas at Austin Lyndon B. Johnson School of Public Affairs 
Resource Type
Journal Article
Resource Format
PDF

The COVID-19 pandemic necessitated major changes to service delivery for Maternal, Infant, and Early Childhood Home Visiting (MIECHV)-funded home visiting in Texas. Almost all providers adapted by switching to a virtual service delivery model. To study these changes, the Texas Department of Family and Protective Services’ Prevention and Early Intervention Division (PEI) contracted with Dr. Cynthia Osborne and the Child and Family Research Partnership (CFRP) at the LBJ School of Public Affairs at The University of Texas at Austin. Home visitors found that families valued virtual services, found scheduling and re-scheduling visits easier, and felt more comfortable sharing their personal information with home visitors in the virtual environment. Home visitors also noted that they may be able to serve more families with limited resources if some components of home visiting remain virtual. However, families often could not conduct visits over video because they did not have the needed technology or skills. Home visitors generally agree that recruiting, building relationships with new clients, and conducting formal assessments are activities best completed in person. The key lessons learned during the study provide insight for providers across the spectrum of social services who are considering how to serve clients in the future, specifically providers who are considering offering a blend of in-person and virtual option.  

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